Hot on the heels of 2013's road safety data comes bus safety information for the first quarter of this year. Public attention often focuses on pedestrians and cyclists, but buses are involved in, on average, one incident every day in which someone is killed or seriously injured. Transport for London has now released figures showing incidents resulting in a fatality or hospital visit, broken down by route, borough and operator.
The data is interesting but limited. For example, it doesn't group incidents together: the 109 route looks like it had a nightmare in January, with six passengers taken to hospital in collisions in Croydon. This could be six separate collisions or it could be one big accident. (We can't find any news reports of a big smash from January, but anyone with local knowledge please tell us in the comments.) There were eight other "collision incidents" in Croydon between January and February this year, as well as slips, falls and an assault bringing Croydon's quarterly serious incident total to 32.
Lambeth racks up the second highest number of incidents at 26 (including five collisions, two with motorcyclists and one with another vehicle, as well as two assaults and a vandalism injury), followed by Southwark with 18. Arriva London South incurs the most injuries (56) followed by Metroline with 42. The 109 route experienced 11 injuries, nearly double the next route which is the 319 with six (all in Wandsworth, weirdly).
In many ways the data throw up more questions than answers. Are certain routes more dangerous because they're more crowded, so people are more likely to be standing and hurt if the bus brakes suddenly? Does a route with a higher frequency incur more injuries just because it has more opportunity? What the hell is going on in Croydon and Lambeth, which also did very badly in TfL's overall road safety figures?
In related news, police in Barnet are appealing for witnesses after an eight year old boy was knocked off his bike in a collision with a 184 bus on Tuesday night.
Photo by Aurélien Le Roch from the Londonist Flickr pool