How many people are injured or killed while cycling?
Pedal cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users. Despite advances in safety equipment, increasing numbers of cycle lanes, and changes to the Highway Code designed to protect riders, the number of accidents involving cycles on the UK’s roads is on the rise. The latest government figures show that there were 141 fatalities in 2020 and an increase of 5% since 2004. 4,215 cyclists were reportedly seriously injured – a rise of 26% over the same period and nearly 12,000 were slightly injured.
However, the rise is partly due to the fact that more and more of us are taking to two wheels. In 2018, cyclists in the UK pedalled a total of 3.3 billion miles – up a third on the mileage clocked up 25 years ago.
That means on average a cyclist is injured for every 4,300 miles ridden. When put like that it becomes clear that the benefits of riding a bicycle – both to our health and the environment – far outweigh the risks.
How our big cities fare for cycling safety
It follows that cycling in the cities of the UK poses a greater danger than using other roads. In 2019, 12 cyclists were killed on the roads of the capital (8.5% of the UK total) and 770 were seriously injured (18% of the UK total). Those figures were an increase of 6% on the previous year though levels of cycling in central London rose by 5%.
Elsewhere in our big cities, the figures are somewhat mixed. In Manchester, there were 552 reported cycling accidents – a 10% drop on the previous year. It is notable that during the same time period, cycling casualties on all of Scotland’s roads have more than halved in the last 20 years.