Cyclist road deaths up 10% as overall figure for road deaths falls

image captionThe number of people killed or seriously injured on Britain's motorways dropped steeply in 2012

The number of cyclists killed on Great Britain's roads rose by 10% in 2012, as the overall number of road deaths fell to its lowest since records began in 1926, according to official figures.

The number of deaths among cyclists rose from 107 in 2011 to 118 in 2012, the Department for Transport announced.

But there was a total of 1,754 deaths on British roads in accidents reported to the police in 2012, it added.

This was 8% lower than the equivalent figure for 2011.

BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott said the cycling figures might be due to more people travelling by bicycle, mainly in London.

It would lead to further calls for road designers to focus more on cycling safety, our correspondent added.

"In addition, the number of pedal cyclists reported to the police as seriously injured in a road accident increased by 4% to 3,222," the Department for Transport said.

"There is a well-established upward trend in pedal cyclist casualties; this is eighth year that the number of seriously injured cyclist casualties has increased."

The overall number of people seriously injured in road accidents fell 0.4% to 23,039 in 2012.


The figures show that 420 pedestrians were killed in 2012 - 7% fewer than in 2011 - but the number of pedestrians seriously injured rose 2% to 5,559.

A total of 61 children, defined as those under the age of 16, were killed in road accidents last year, compared with 60 in 2011. The number of children seriously injured fell 6% to 2,211.

The Department for Transport said it was likely that the unusually high levels of rainfall in 2012 had reduced the number of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists using the roads.

Julie Townsend, of road safety charity Brake, said: "Road crashes are violent, sudden events that tear apart families and whole communities. They are also a huge economic burden, and preventable through investment in education, engineering and enforcement.

"While progress towards fewer deaths and injuries is hugely welcome, it is important to acknowledge every person behind these statistics.

"For every one of the 1,754 people killed violently and needlessly in 2012, many more are left behind to grieve their loss, often suffering very serious trauma."

The government faced criticism over road safety in 2011, when the number of people killed on Britain's roads rose for the first time since 2003.

Motoring organisation the RAC's David Bizley said: "Although fatalities are at their lowest ever level, the number of people killed or seriously injured is actually very similar to 2010, which signifies that the longer term downward trend may have come to an end and be plateauing.

"It is good news that the number of slightly injured casualties continues to fall and that overall child casualties are lower than ever, but it is bad news that more cyclists are being killed or seriously injured.

"With more people taking to two wheels following our Olympic success, much needs to be done to ensure the safety of cyclists so that this figure does not continue to rise in the future."

In January, figures for Northern Ireland's roads, which are calculated separately, also showed that the number of road deaths had fallen to the lowest level since records began.

A total of 48 people died in crashes in Northern Ireland in 2012, down from 59 in 2011.

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