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Road Safety: cycling good, driving less good - CTC has the facts

    Increasing cycle use can benefit road safety according to new figures revealed by CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, today.

    Addressing the ‘Promoting Cycling and Safety – Addressing the Barriers’ conference at Aston University today, CTC revealed new figures showing that motor vehicles impose a far higher level of danger to pedestrians than cycles do.

    The new figures, which relate to accidents in 2002, show that although a pedestrian in collision with a cycle is  about 4.5 times more likely to be injured than the cyclist, a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle is about 25 times more likely to be injured than the vehicle occupants and about 57 more likely to be seriously or fatally injured. In addition, 192 times more pedestrians are injured in collision with motor vehicles than with cycles even though only 45 times as many trips are made by this mode of transport.

    As well as representing a low risk to other road users, cycling conditions are becoming safer. Department for Transport statistics recently revealed that cycle use in the UK has increased by 10 per cent since 1993, yet the number of reported pedal casualties has decreased by 34 per cent over the same period.

    CTC will put the case for a change in traffic law to foster increased cycle use when it gives evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee enquiry on traffic law and enforcement tomorrow.

    Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Manager, commented: “Cyclists are often represented as a danger to pedestrians, but these figures reveal that motor vehicles pose a far more serious and disproportionately high level of danger to all vulnerable road users. Not only is cycling getting safer, but this new evidence shows that increased cycle use will benefit road safety generally.”

    He added: “In order to enjoy the benefits to road safety that increased cycle use will bring, it is vital that we see new and more strictly enforced traffic laws – particularly in order to stop speeding and drink-driving.”


    The 167 reported pedestrian/cycle collisions in 2002 resulted in 170 pedestrian injuries (3 fatal, 40 serious) and 38 cyclist injuries (1 fatal, 9 serious). The 34,986 reported pedestrian/motor vehicle collisions in 2002 resulted in 32,034 pedestrian injuries (493 fatal, 6443 serious) and 1290 vehicle user injuries (8 fatal, 114 serious). Source: Casualty Road Figures Great Britain 2002

    192 times more pedestrians are injured in collision with motor vehicles than with cycles even though only 45 times as many trips are made by this mode of transport. Even if figures are compared in terms of vehicle-kilometres rather than trips, the results are still favourable to cyclists - 110 times more vehicle-kilometres are covered by motorised vehicles than by cycles and this falls to 74 times if motorway and trunk roads where there are few pedestrians are excluded. These comparisons would favour cycling even more strongly if it were possible to make a like-for-like comparison by excluding travel by cyclists who are under the age for driving. Source: Transport Statistics Great Britain 2002


    The Government’s Road Safety Strategy states that “speed is a major contributory factor in about one-third of all road accidents. This means that each year excessive or inappropriate speed helps to kill 1,200 people and to injure over 100,000 more”. And that is by a pretty liberal definition of what constitutes “excessive or inappropriate speed” – i.e. whether the investigating police officer thought so at the time. http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_rdsafety/documents/page/dft_rdsafety_504644.hcsp