Cycle for Change: The True Scale of Cycling Casualties in the North
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
|Greater Manchester Police||273||268||230||179||159||163||154||144||93||78||1741|
|North Yorkshire Police||58||50||43||36||47||47||32||35||30||27||405|
|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|
|Greater Manchester Police||543||514||544||556||602||589||579||626||518||491||5562|
|North Yorkshire Police||182||189||201||208||206||215||210||237||286||318||2252|
|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.
- Cycling proficiency should be compulsory in schools.
- It should be mandatory for lorries entering cities to be equipped with basic safety measures including sensors and safety bars.
- The most dangerous junctions in the North must be identified and steps taken to improve them.
- There should be a dedicated, regular budget for cycling both at local and national level.
- 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.”
North 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.”
Cycle for Change logo: Paul Irwin at www.pointwellmade.co.uk
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.
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 www.axainsurance.com and is designed to make buying insurance fast, secure, convenient and easy-to-use.
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