Rise in road deaths and serious injuries for cyclists

Philip Pank Transport Correspondent
Last updated at 10:33PM, June 28 2012 

Campaigners called for an overhaul of road safety policies last night as official figures showed the first rise in deaths on the roads for eight years and sharp increases in the numbers of pedestrians killed and cyclists seriously injured in Britain.

Road safety professionals said that the Government’s determination to “end the war on motorists” appeared to be responsible for creating more dangerous streets for vulnerable road users. Cuts to police, road safety budgets and speed cameras were now being reflected in worse casualty figures, they claimed.

The number of road deaths rose by 3 per cent to 1,901 last year, the first annual increase since 2003. The number of people killed or seriously injured rose for the first time since 1994 to 25,023.

Deaths among pedestrians rose by 12 per cent to 453, including a 27 per cent increase in the number of child pedestrians killed last year.

While the total number of cyclists killed on the roads fell by 4 per cent, the number of people seriously injured riding bicycles rose by 16 per cent to 3,085. Cyclists aged 18-59 suffered the sharpest increase in serious injuries, 21 per cent higher than in 2010.

Ministers and local politicians such as the Mayor of London have in the past insisted that it is becoming increasingly safe to cycle. However, the data suggests that the chances of receiving a serious injury increased for the third consecutive year in 2011, when the volume of bikes on the roads increased by only 2 per cent. Total traffic volumes remained unchanged after three years of decline during the recession.

“Part of the increase in cycling casualties will be down to more cycling, but as the increase in traffic is lower than the overall increase in cycling casualties, clearly cycling has become more dangerous. It has particularly become more dangerous for the 18-59 year olds,” said Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.

Chris Peck, policy co-ordinator for CTC, the cyclists’ organisation, said: “It has been getting worse over the last few years. It is probably to do with falling traffic policing due to a lack of interest in road safety generally by the Government. The policy of ending the war on motorists is really bearing fruit and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists are bearing the brunt of that.”

Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said he was “disappointed” by the rise in casualties but pointed out that the number of fatalities was the second lowest since the 1930s.

He said that the Government would “continue to progress initiatives to improve cycle safety”, pointing to £30million of funding to improve dangerous road junctions.

Road safety professionals said the figures should be a wake-up call to ministers.

“They are a demonstration of the concern that all of us have expressed about the lack of leadership, priority and resources given to road safety by the current Government,” Mr Gifford said.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, a road safety charity, said: “It is vital the Government wakes up to the very real and human consequences of inadequate action on road safety and moves quickly to address the biggest killers on our roads.”

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said he was “concerned that reduced public spending on road safety, especially cuts to local authority and road policing budgets, may be partly to blame”.

Simon Best, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “Ministers should take this as a clear warning. Cutting road safety education, scrapping casualty targets and reductions in local authority spending all suggest that road safety isn’t a major priority for this Government.”  

Source : The Times  : Rise in road deaths and serious injuries for cyclists

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image source : LOOK! SAVE A LIFE  

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“ROAD SAFETY IS EVERYBODY’S RESPONSIBILITY.”
Source : CycleSportNews

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