Cycling – Safety in Numbers

Several Bikes

Safety in Numbers

Safety in Numbers

It’s good to hear about this report which shows an increase in the number of kilometers cycled, combined with a decrease in the number of fatalities. CTC link It is always possible to draw many conclusions from statistics, but, this seems good news. Intuitively as a cyclist you feel there is ‘safety in numbers’ – Cycle in a place where a cyclist is a rarerity (e.g. NY) and it feels more dangerous than a place where cycling is more numerous.

This report certaintly backs up the global statistic (cycle rates by Country) showing a marked correlation between cycling rates and cycling fatalities.

safety numbers

safety numbers - CTC

From 2007 to 2008, cycling in the UK increased by 12%, at the same time as a substantial fall in cycling deaths, down from 136  to 115, the second lowest level ever, along with a very small increase of 1% in serious and slight injuries.

The good news is that there is potential for  a momentum effect. If more cycle and it becomes safer, the more will be encouraged to cycle and it creates a virtuous circle.

There is a huge difference in cycle rates between different UK Cities.

Bradford has less than 0.5% of journeys taken by bike. It has a serious injury or fatality rate of 100 per 10,000 cycle journeys.

At the other end of the scale, York has a rate of 6% of journeys taken by bike. The serious injury or fatality rate falls to 20 per 10,000 cycle journeys.

3 Responses to Cycling – Safety in Numbers

  1. Rantwick July 16, 2009 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m really enjoying the uptick in bikes on the street. I’m waiting to see if there is any real increase in Winter riders here in often snowy London Ontario Canada!

    - Not without asking
    - Not too close!
    - Yes!

  2. botogol July 15, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    Commuting regularly 17 miles West to East through central London I can report a vast increase in the number of cyclists over the last two years, and I concur: because of the increased numbers my journeys have felt much safer – and are much more companiable and fun. There is quite a peloton on the Kings Road in the mornings this summer.

    Ok, some commuter etiquette questions for you to opine on:
    - is it OK to draft?
    - if so, how close?
    - if you find someone drafting off you, is it acceptable, at the next lights, to suggest he take a turn on the front?


  1. Cycle Safety | Cycling UK - April 15, 2011

    [...] Safety in Numbers The first factor is the number of cyclists in the city. Areas with a higher density of cyclists have a lower accident rate per KM. This is why countries with high rates of cycling, typically have lower accident per KM rates. Cycle fatalities per country. There is also a virtuous circle. If the roads are deemed safe, then it will encourage more people to cycle. See: Safety in Numbers [...]

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