September 2012 figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show an eight percent increase in the number of cyclists killed and seriously injured (KSI) compared to the previous annual numbers, despite an overall drop in road accident deaths generally. Other vulnerable road users also fared badly, with pedestrian KSIs rising by six percent over the year and motorcyclists by four percent.
The fatalities figure for all road users to September 2012 fell by seven percent. And while the number of fatal accidents for all users on major roads fell by nine percent there was a five percent increase on minor roads for deaths and serious accidents.
According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), these figures equate to 6,040 pedestrian KSIs and 3,270 cyclist KSIs between October 2011 and September 2012.
Commenting on the percentages, Sustrans policy director Jason Torrance said: "The government must act now to put an end to the increasing number of pedestrian and cyclist casualties on our roads.
"As MPs investigate how to get more people out on their bikes, these figures show just how far we have to go. Leadership, investment and big changes in our schools, workplaces and communities are urgently needed to make cycling and walking safer and to build a healthier, cleaner UK."
Simon Edwards, Principal Solicitor at Prolegal, who has been blogging for BikeRadar from the Get Britain Cycling inquiry, told us: “These are shocking statistics. The rise in cycle injuries and deaths highlights that cycle safety continues to be pushed to the bottom of the agenda. It is obviously encouraging that there are fewer motorist victims but their safety must not be favored at the expense of the more vulnerable road users.
“A reduction in speed limits is an quick and affordable first step to reducing these numbers. Adequate cycling infrastructure must follow. Reckless drivers must be brought to account to take responsibility for their actions. Until these are in place, the cyclist will continue to be a second class citizen on the road. The current Get Britain Cycling inquiry must take heed of these figures, and sit up and listen to the evidence. The recommendations being given have been well thought through, and it is getting increasingly important that the Government listens and acts”.
The problem of increasing cyclist KSIs over the last decade was the subject of parliamentary debate last year, and is also one of the subjects under consideration by the current Get Britain Cycling inquiry.