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Recession Increases Cyclist Deaths

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

The rise of austerity, environmental concerns and healthy living has seeing increased numbers of people resorting to their bicycles for daily transport. The immediate implications appear positive but accident statistics should make cyclists heed a note of caution.

A recent study has shown that the numbers of cyclists killed on Britain's roads has risen in three out of the last four recessions. The 1930's recession saw a 58% increase between 1930 and 1935 while the recession of the 1980's saw an increase of 14% between 1980 and 1984. The latest Department for Transport figures indicate that people using bicycles instead of cars, buses or other forms of public transport to save money has increased the road death toll once again.

The 2011 DfT annual report into road casualties showed a 7% rise in cyclist deaths from 104 to 111 in 2010 and a 12% increase in the first half of last year. Most of the casualties occurred between 7am and 10am and between 4pm and 7pm pointing to commuter cyclists being the most vulnerable group.

Charlie Lloyd of the London Cycling Campaign told the Guardian newspaper, "Cycling fatalities in general are not getting any worse. It is likely that the increase in the number of fatalities during a recession is related to the increase in the number of cyclists. More people get on their bike or spend more time on their bike in a recession."

The statistics also revealed the typical circumstances of accidents where there were one or more vehicles involved. The main contributory factors included: failure to look properly 25%, failing to judge speed 10%, cyclists joining the road from a pavement 8% and reckless behaviour 8%. Other figures have revealed that the frequency of accidents is higher among urban cyclists but that rural roads are where the highest number of fatalities occur.

The casualty figures for cyclists provide a stark contract with other forms of transport. Since 2007 the number of pedestrian fatalities has fallen by 19%, motorcyclists by 15% and car drivers by 21%.

Personal injury solicitors have corroborated the rise in cycling accident related claims with increasing numbers of people seeking to obtain compensation.

It is important that anyone involved in an accident seeks appropriate legal advice. Rollingsons have experienced lawyers on hand who can offer you clear legal advice. Please contact Sarah Vincent by email or by telephone 020 7611 4848.