UK road casualty figures for the past year have been released by the Department for Transport, with the headline figure a 16 percent rise in serious injuries to cyclists compared to 2010.
While deaths have dropped from 111 to 107 in the last 12 months, the number seriously injured has soared to 3,085 from 2,660. The number with minor injuries also increased significantly, up 11 percent to 16,023 from 14,414. Looking at the long term picture, however, the likelihood of dying while cycling in 2011 is said to be 55 percent less than it was in 1990.
The number of miles cycled in Britain increased by 2.2 percent in 2011 (3bn) compared with 2010 (2.9bn) - the fourth consecutive year it has done so and 17.7 percent higher than it was a decade ago. Car traffic was up 0.2 percent (240.3bn from 239.8bn), which reverses three consecutive years of decline between 2008 and 2010.
CTC, the UK's national cyclists' organisation, said that the government can't expect more and safer cycling while they are cutting back on traffic policing and other road safety measures.
CTC’s Campaigns Director, Roger Geffen, said: “We may now be seeing the results of the Government’s previous ‘ending the war on the motorist’ rhetoric, suggesting that road safety wasn’t a priority.
"Ministers now need to reassert the importance of creating safe and attractive cycling conditions, promoting safe driving and tackling the threats posed by lorries. Creating safe conditions for existing and would-be cyclists is important not just for our health and the environment, but for the safety of other road users too.
“Britain’s cycle safety record is falling even further behind other north European countries which have far higher levels of cycle use. We still have only a tiny fraction of our residential streets covered by 20 mph schemes, while hostile roads, bad driving and weak law enforcement remain serious barriers to getting more people cycling.”
Institute for Advanced Motorists (IAM) chief executive Simon Best added: “It is unacceptable that road deaths and serious injuries rose last year, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists who saw the greatest rises. Road accidents usually drop during an economic recession, so this rise after continuous reductions over the last ten years, is particularly concerning.
“Ministers should take this as a serious 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.”
Reported cycling casualty figures