Department of Transport attacked despite cyclists being safer

Number of cycle road deaths down eight percent in latest official figures

The Department of Transport has come under fire after releasing the latest figures for injuries occured on the road, despite the overall number of cyclists being killed going down.

The Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain Annual Report 2013 reveals that 1,640 children were killed or seriously injured while walking or cycling during 2013. However, the number of cyclists killed overall went down by eight percent, from 112 in 2012 to 109 in 2013.

Now campaigners are calling on the government body to make changes to avoid the numbers rising during 2014.

Jason Torrance, director of policy for Sustrans – a charity promoting travel by foot, bike or public transport – said: “Today’s release of reported road casualties is another reminder that the terrible toll on cyclists and particularly our children and young people is not going away.”

“More than six whole primary schools full of children were killed or seriously Injured (KSI) while walking or cycling on our roads in 2013. Despite walking and cycling only making up a minority of travel by children (five percent of distance and one-third of trips), [the modes of travel] account for the majority (83 percent) of child deaths and serious injuries on the roads.”

The spokesman went on to call for more funding to help cut down on the number of incidents.

“Current levels of child road death and injury are entirely unacceptable and completely preventable. Government policy must stop being complacent about child road deaths and commit to a safe journey to school on foot or by bike for every child. Urgent action is needed to make our roads safer by making dedicated funding available, lowering traffic speeds and transforming local walking and cycling routes,” he said.

The number of cycists killed on the roads has fluctuated but has generally seen a long term fall – remaining between 100 and 120 deaths for the last six years. The number of cyclists on roads, meanwhile, is believed to have gone up by one percent in the previous year according to the report.

There are estimated to be around 720,000 road casualties in total in Great Britain on the roads each year.

Gregor is BikeRadar's Beginners and Family section editor after leading a cycling heavy youth and regularly clocking up more than 34 miles on the ride to work each day. He's interested in the lighter side of cycling, such as commuting, children's bikes and the occasional short sportive. He also helps to keep BikeRadar's forum in check, and can often be found joining in conversation threads on how to step chafing and the like.

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