The Department for Transport’s (DfT) latest batch of road casualty statistics for the three months ending September 2012 saw an increase for vulnerable road users despite an overall drop in road accident deaths generally.
Pedestrian casualties rose six per cent, while cyclist KSI (killed or seriously injured) increased eight per cent in the period, compared with the same period in 2011.
According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) that figure equates to 6,040 pedestrians and 3,270 cyclists.
Commenting on the stats, Sustrans policy director Jason Torrance said: “The government must act now to put an end to the increasing number of pedestrian and cyclist casualties on our roads.
"As MPs investigate how to get more people out on their bikes, these figures show just how far we have to go. Leadership, investment and big changes in our schools, workplaces and communities are urgently needed to make cycling and walking safer and to build a healthier, cleaner UK.
“Safe cycling routes and lower speed limits could help prevent the increasing number of injuries and tragic deaths on our roads.”
The IAM also noted that the number of fatal accidents on major roads fell by nine per cent and the number of fatal or serious accidents fell by two per cent, but conversely fatal and serious accidents rose by five per cent on minor roads and similarly five per cent on built-up roads.
IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “It is reassuring to see an overall drop in the number of road casualties, however this should not mask the increase of deaths and serious injuries for cyclists and pedestrians.
“The rise in the number of fatal and serious accidents on minor and built-up roads is concerning. The government needs to think about which roads are the safest and where they should be dedicating their resources.”
The IAM went on to list changes it would propose to tackle the problem, including changes to the driving test to make drivers much more aware of cyclists and pedestrians, improved infrastructure for cyclists, including more segregated cycle paths and a commitment from the government commit to reinstate funding for road safety campaigns and education.
UPDATE: Solicitors Prolegal have now had their say on the topic too. Principal solicitor Simon Edwards commented: “These are shocking statistics. The rise in cycle injuries and deaths highlights that cycle safety continues to be pushed to the bottom of the agenda. It is obviously encouraging that there are fewer motorist victims but their safety must not be favored at the expense of the more vulnerable road users.
“A reduction in speed limits is an quick and affordable first step to reducing these numbers. Adequate cycling infrastructure must follow. Reckless drivers must be brought to account to take responsibility for their actions. Until these are in place, the cyclist will continue to be a second class citizen on the road. The current Get Britain Cycling inquiry must take heed of these figures, and sit up and listen to the evidence. The recommendations being given have been well thought through, and it is getting increasingly important that the Government listens and acts.”