Philip Pank Transport Correspondent
Last updated at 12:01AM, January 27 2014
Source: The Times
Motor vehicles kill five times more pedestrians than cyclists, but figures show risk of serious injury is similar relative to distance travelled
Cyclists are almost as likely as drivers to cause serious injury to pedestrians, analysis of official figures shows.
The data, revealed by annual road casualty statistics, provoked calls for responsible cycling and the construction of dedicated facilities to keep cyclists out of conflict with other road users.
When serious injuries are measured as a proportion of distance travelled, cyclists injured 21 pedestrians per billion km travelled in 2012 compared with 24 pedestrians injured by drivers.
Cycling organisations acknowledge that cyclists who ride on the pavement are seen to be a problem. However, they point out that most collisions occur when pedestrians step out into the road without seeing or hearing a cyclist.
Roger Geffen, policy director at CTC, the national cycling charity, said: “CTC strongly supports the provision of high-quality cycle tracks, provided they are well designed so as to avoid creating conflict with pedestrians, or worsening cyclists’ safety at junctions.
“However it is important not to overstate the level of conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. Just 2 per cent of pedestrian injuries on pavements involve cyclists, the other 98 per cent involve motor vehicles.
“Pavement cyclists are involved in about 20 serious pedestrian injuries a year, whereas about three-quarters of serious pedestrian injuries involving cyclists occur on the road.”
The data shows that drivers are five times more likely than a cyclist to kill a pedestrian. Cyclists killed 0.27 pedestrians per billion km pedalled, compared with 1.4 pedestrians killed per billion km driven in 2012, the latest year for which figures exist.
While the chances of a cyclist causing serious injury to pedestrians as a proportion of distance travelled are comparable to the risks posed by drivers, motor vehicles are responsible for a far higher number of deaths and serious injuries in absolute terms.
One pedestrian was killed by a cyclist and 78 were seriously injured in 2012. At the same time, 253 pedestrians were killed by drivers in urban areas and 4,426 were seriously injured.
Analysis of the past ten years of road casualty data by CTC showed that cyclists killed 23 pedestrians in the decade to 2012 and seriously injured 585.
In the same period, 3,330 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles and 46,081 were seriously injured.
Research by the City of Westminster Council last year found that, in collisions between pedestrians and cyclists, 60 per cent of the crashes were caused by the pedestrian.
Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, a charity dedicated to pedestrians, said: “What is clear is that pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. In 2012 there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions.
“This is unacceptable. Investment in making our urban environment walking friendly would make our streets safer for all road users.”
Earlier this month, Robert Goodwill, the Transport Minister responsible for cycling, courted controversy by asking police to show restraint when dealing with cyclists who cycle on the pavement because they are too scared to cycle on the roads.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The benefits of walking far outweigh the risks of being hurt whilst out walking but, as in any circumstance, we urge all road users to be careful, be considerate and look out for others at all times.”
Today, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, is due to unveil the first low-level traffic lights for cyclists at Bow Roundabout, where three cyclists have been killed in the past two years.
When faced with statistics like these some cyclists resort to the numbers game which continues to place them at the bottom of the “transportation pecking order“. This is something I consider unconscionable given the resentment cyclists have towards motorists who refuse to consider the mayhem they cause.
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