Nearly 40,000 cyclist deaths and injuries in the North of England over the past decade 

Following Northern Soul’s launch of a major new cycling safety campaign, the scale of cycling deaths and injuries in the North of England is revealed for the first time.

  • Nearly 40,000 cyclist deaths and injuries in the North of England over the past decade
  • 30,163 of these cycling deaths and injuries were adults while 9,734 were children
  • Adult cycling casualties across the North of England have soared by 46 per cent since 2004
  • Nearly one in four UK cycling casualties are in the North of England
  • A new campaign, called Cycle for Change, aims to improve cycling safety in the North

According to AXA’s Local Road Safety Index, compiled by Road Safety Analysis, a leading provider of road safety research, of the 173,890 cycling deaths and injuries in the UK since 2004, nearly a fifth were children. In the North of England, a quarter of cycling deaths and injuries were children.

The report also found that, as far as reducing adult cycling casualties was concerned (casualties refers to deaths and all reported injuries to the 50 UK police forces), Cleveland had made the least improvement over the past three years (compared to the three year period previous to that). Greater Manchester Police, however, ranked third in the country for reducing adult casualty numbers. Looking solely at child casualties over the past three years, Cumbria Constabulary took third place in the improvement tables, closely followed by Durham in fourth place. Greater Manchester took 11th place in the rankings with West Yorkshire 45th in the table and Merseyside languishing in 46th place.

In addition, the analysis highlights a worrying trend in the rise of adult cycling deaths and injuries across the North of England. Although child cycling casualties have reduced over the past decade (a drop of 60 per cent, according to police reports across the 12 Northern police forces), adult casualties have increased by 46 per cent.

Northern Soul, the webzine dedicated to Northern life, culture and enterprise, believes that there is no cohesive, wide-ranging campaign working to address cycling safety in the North of England and press for change. Northern Soul wants to do something about that.

Helen Nugent, Founder and Editor of Northern Soul, said: “Our roads are never going to be 100 per cent safe but there are plenty of ways in which we can make them safer for all road users. So many cycling deaths and injuries could have been prevented and, at Northern Soul, we want to work as hard as possible to reduce the number of casualties.

“Unfortunately, I know the devastating consequences of cycling accidents only too well. Three years ago my best friend Mary was knocked off her bike and run over by a lorry driven by someone who wasn’t paying attention and didn’t have any useful safety measures on his vehicle. Mary will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life. No-one should have to endure what this lovely girl has endured, and no-one should have to suffer like her family and friends have suffered. Together we can make our roads safer.”

Richard Owen, director of Road Safety Analysis, said: “This new analysis shows that risk for adult cyclists is rising significantly while child casualties fall. There has been significant investment in child cycle training over the last six years but more needs to be done to tackle this growing problem in the adult population.

“There are remarkably differing trends around the country too with large rises seen in Merseyside, Humberside and Surrey. Other areas such as Greater Manchester and Cambridgeshire have done much better and perhaps lessons can be learned from these places.

“This new analysis uses data collected by police forces around the country between 2008 and 2013 and made available to Road Safety Analysis by the Department for Transport. There will be many more injury collisions that aren’t reported to the police so the figures are likely to be much higher.”

Key Statistics for Cycling Casualties in the North of England

Child Cyclists
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
Cheshire Constabulary 88 82 63 77 66 76 58 72 55 40 677
Cleveland Police 55 44 49 33 38 38 30 38 29 34 388
Cumbria Constabulary 51 52 35 36 32 38 33 28 16 11 332
Durham Constabulary 57 60 48 44 28 50 40 30 22 17 396
Greater Manchester Police 273 268 230 179 159 163 154 144 93 78 1741
Humberside Police 133 109 91 98 94 81 63 92 67 44 872
Lancashire Constabulary 154 148 129 122 120 101 117 111 79 68 1149
Merseyside Police 118 129 100 93 60 68 71 85 86 41 851
North Yorkshire Police 58 50 43 36 47 47 32 35 30 27 405
Northumbria Police 132 133 88 99 104 71 98 85 53 60 923
South Yorkshire Police 126 91 88 96 80 82 68 78 59 43 811
West Yorkshire Police 129 152 130 143 104 120 101 115 105 90 1189
Adult Cyclists
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Total
Cheshire Constabulary 206 223 228 206 226 235 258 301 325 308 2516
Cleveland Police 74 53 79 89 82 80 79 114 115 135 900
Cumbria Constabulary 70 97 82 95 79 84 82 86 93 121 889
Durham Constabulary 62 56 62 52 70 68 64 87 82 76 679
Greater Manchester Police 543 514 544 556 602 589 579 626 518 491 5562
Humberside Police 261 288 311 275 282 278 312 336 402 452 3197
Lancashire Constabulary 300 312 288 285 311 329 339 349 405 412 3330
Merseyside Police 184 207 204 199 187 233 250 312 296 331 2403
North Yorkshire Police 182 189 201 208 206 215 210 237 286 318 2252
Northumbria Police 213 191 202 204 234 271 235 262 309 297 2418
South Yorkshire Police 157 169 198 208 201 213 216 239 236 247 2084
West Yorkshire Police 311 314 316 334 381 406 389 446 491 545 3933


[Source: Road Safety Analysis. Figures for the whole of UK available on request.]

James Barclay, of AXA car insurance, said: “Every region and local area has specific requirements and needs of road safety initiatives but each of them are equally as important. Whether you’re in the South East, North West or East, raising awareness of road safety is vital, but that awareness should be backed by change and progression. If we can collectively help to reduce all types of road accidents, fewer people will suffer, and more people will be able to enjoy the roads for getting to and from somewhere. Our Local Road Safety Index is just a small part of this journey.” 

Cycle for Change charter

Northern Soul has launched its Cycle for Change charter, a manifesto which, it is hoped, will increase in size and ambition as the campaign gathers pace. We are in the process of building a coalition of supporters and partners and we welcome organisations and individuals who would like to sign up.

  1. Cycling proficiency should be compulsory in schools.
  2. It should be mandatory for lorries entering cities to be equipped with basic safety measures including sensors and safety bars.
  3. The most dangerous junctions in the North must be identified and steps taken to improve them.
  4. There should be a dedicated, regular budget for cycling both at local and national level.
  5. Working groups should be set up at both local and national level to examine if the current laws are robust enough to deal with the offence of causing death or serious injury to cyclists.

Andy Groves, Northern Soul’s Cycling Correspondent and writer of Riding the North, the site’s column dedicated to cycling, said: “Cycle safety is the common theme in every piece I write for Northern Soul. The Cycle for Change campaign will change the debate and raise our game across the North.”

Support for Cycle for Change

Andrew Stephenson, Member of Parliament for Pendle, said, “I am delighted to support this campaign. Every person who gets on a bike, whether they are commuting to work, riding for pleasure, in the city, town or countryside, should be able to do so safely. We want to encourage people to use their bikes more for their own health and well-being and because of the major environmental benefits too. But the number of avoidable accidents, injuries and deaths must be addressed. This campaign will help to raise the issue of cycling safety across the North of England and beyond and if it saves one life, prevents one person from being injured or encourages people to wear a helmet or take other precautions, then it will have been a huge success.”

Cycle for Change logoNorth West regional director of the charity Sustrans, Rosslyn Colderley, said: “Despite government assurances that our roads are getting safer, we still see too many cycling and walking deaths and serious injuries in the North of England.

“Worries about safety on the roads deter people from walking and cycling and promote a growing fear among parents that children are safer inside the car than out. This leads to ever increasing traffic, worsening air pollution and increasing obesity. That is why Sustrans is campaigning for dedicated funding to transform local walking and cycling routes and the introduction of lower traffic speeds, such as the 20 mph zones proposed in Manchester.

“I’m delighted to see Northern Soul launching its campaign for safer cycling and look forward to working with them.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Huge steps forward have been made in making Manchester safer for cyclists over the last few years, as can be seen by the reduction in the number of cycling accidents across the region since 2007. This reduction is all the more significant as there has also been a large increase in the number of people taking up cycling within the same period.

“We have successfully applied for money from the Department for Transport to create major improvements, one of which will be along Wilmslow Road, one of the most well used cycle routes in the country. This will include installing Dutch-style cycle junctions and cycle lanes which stand free from traffic. Improvements will also be made to facilities for cyclists along Oxford Road under the Greater Manchester Bus Priority proposals.

“We are also creating a quieter alternative cycle route running parallel to Wilmslow Road, and have invested in other new and upgraded cycle routes such as the Fallowfield Loop, while we have also worked closely with Transport for Greater Manchester to produce detailed maps of cycle routes and provide free training for people who want to get around the city on bike. Over the summer we introduced 20 mile per hour speed limits to 1,100 Manchester roads covering 111 miles, and we have since announced plans that will see these limits extended to cover nearly half of the city.”


Riding the North:; @riding_north

Twitter: @Northern_Soul_; @nugehelen


Cycle for Change logo: Paul Irwin at


Interviews are available with the Editor of Northern Soul 

Notes to Editors
A full breakdown of the following statistics is available on request:
** Cycling casualties for all 50 UK police forces, both adult statistics and child statistics.
** A breakdown of progress made over the past six years on cycling casualties across all 50 UK police forces.

Explanation of data
For the purposes of the data, children are defined as between 0-15 years old. The figures relate to the years 2004-2013. The analysis is by MAST Online, an award-winning road safety tool, originally funded by the Department for Transport and now managed by Road Safety Analysis. RSA used details taken from each reported collision to compile the report. 

About Northern Soul
Founded and edited by former Times journalist Helen Nugent, Northern Soul is a group-written website focusing on the North of England. Since launch in May 2013, Northern Soul has gone from strength to strength. Today the team is nearing 50 professional journalists, multimedia specialists, photographers and bloggers. Regular contributors include The Guardian’s former Northern Correspondent and a number of other successful writers whose combined CV includes the BBC, the Manchester Evening News, The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Guardian, Yorkshire Post, The Times, Daily Express, The Huffington Post and The Big Issue in the North.

About Road Safety Analysis
Since its formation in early 2010, Road Safety Analysis has become a market leader in supplying research, analysis and evaluation services to road safety authorities across the country. With extensive experience in the road safety field, Road Safety Analysis incorporates a wide range of specialties in areas such as analysis, insight reporting, social marketing and partnership development.

As a social enterprise, Road Safety Analysis is focused on developing and delivering a range of road safety services that are evidence based, innovative and highly focused on delivering tangible benefits to the public.

About AXA
AXA is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and underwrites a broad range of products for individuals and businesses. AXA Direct Insurance offers car, home and travel insurance through its website and is designed to make buying insurance fast, secure, convenient and easy-to-use.