Cycling At All Time High; Safety Figures Depend On Who You Talk To

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 35 months ago
Cycling At All Time High; Safety Figures Depend On Who You Talk To

Photo by Zefrographica from the Londonist Flickr pool

More Londoners are cycling than ever before, and Transport for London also says that 2014 was the safest year on record for cyclists.

Around 610,000 journeys were made (on average) by bike each day on all the capital's roads, up by 5% on the previous year, and TfL says there's been an 11% increase in cyclists on the main roads it manages. This means there are two ways of looking at safety figures: either you can look at absolute statistics, or look at the number of injuries sustained compared to the overall numbers travelling.

TfL says that one in every 513,000 journeys ends in death or serious injury, which it assures us is the lowest rate ever. And when we look at the absolute numbers, it's true that fatalities have been roughly constant (bearing in mind the figures are small in statistical terms): between 16 and 10 deaths in 2007-2014. 13 people died on London's roads in 2014; six have died so far this year. 419 people were seriously injured in 2014, the lowest number since 2006 and a marked improvement on 2012, when 657 people were seriously injured, almost the worst since records began in 1989 (752 people were seriously injured that year).

Slight injuries, on the other hand, are on the rise. 4,714 people suffered slight injuries in 2014, a figure that's the worst since records began. Slight injuries had been falling since 1989 but started to rise again from 2008, when 2,757 people were hurt. If more people are cycling it's probably inevitable that there will be more slight injuries — are they riders falling off, coming unstuck on potholes, having small scrapes with vehicles? How many of these injuries would be solved by better infrastructure for cycling and more segregation? It's the KSI (killed and seriously injured) figures we should be looking at. Even with more of us cycling, a relatively static figure of deaths in the mid-teens isn't something any of us should be happy to live with.

The Safer Lorries Scheme, which bans HGVs without safety measures from London's roads, comes into effect in September and work has begun on the segregated north-south and east-west 'Crossrail for bikes' routes. The first Quietway routes will also open later this year. Is it enough? We have no doubt you'll let us know in the comments...

Take a look at the data:

Last Updated 04 June 2015

Alastair Rae

Cycling in London is still hard work but numbers do help. I think drivers are more aware and accommodating than they used to be. But our cycle lanes are still a joke.