Cyclists killed on British roads rose by 40% nel 2020, official figures show

The number of cyclists killed on British roads increased by 40% nel 2020, official statistics show, with cycling groups saying an increase in dangerous driving could have cancelled out the safety dividend from fewer cars on the roads amid lockdown.

In total, 140 cyclists were killed on the roads over the 12 mesi, dal 100 the year before, an increase the AA called “staggering”. Fatalities fell for all other road user types, ranging from a drop of 15% for people in cars to a 71% fall for those in buses and coaches.

The Department for Transport (DfT), which released the figures as part of its provisional road casualties for Britain in 2020, said the cycling figures had to be seen in the context of both the relatively small size of the dataset and an increase in cycling.

With government coronavirus advice urging people to remain local to their homes and avoid public transport, separate DfT statistics reported that a third of people who cycled before the pandemic said they were doing so more during 2020.

The DfT thus calculated that the overall casualty rate for cyclists, the number of deaths or injuries per mile travelled, fell by 34% nel 2020 against the year before, the biggest drop for any road user type.

But cycling groups said they were worried at the particularly steep rise in deaths, when overall cyclist casualties dropped by 4% over the year. Cycling UK pointed to concern about a rise in dangerous driving among a number of police forces during lockdown, with examples including a driver recorded at 134mph in a 40mph zone in north London.

Duncan Dollimore, the head of campaigns for Cycling UK, disse: “Statisticians might expect an increase of cyclist casualties at the same time as more people took to their bikes, ma 140 deaths is still 140 tragedies that could have been avoided.

“Despite fewer people driving during the pandemic, police reports showed an increase in dangerous driving. This type of lethal behaviour needs tackling.”

Cycling UK is pushing for the ongoing police, crime and sentencing bill to better protect cyclists with measures such as limiting the “exceptional hardship” rule that allows people to keep their licenses even after multiple offences, and tougher sanctions for hit-and-run drivers.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, disse: “It is staggering that with car traffic down to as little as 22% of pre-lockdown levels and the big increase in protected pop-up routes, the level of cyclist casualties was so high. This points strongly to the need for better engineering, more education and more cops in cars to help eliminate road deaths.”

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