Just to put this into perspective bobby, here are a few facts.
20. How risky is cycling? Is cycling really that dangerous?No. In general, cycling in Britain is a relatively safe activity.
Using official police-reported road casualty figures, road traffic reports, population stats and the National Travel Survey, Cycling UK calculates that, on average, over 2012-16:
One cyclist was killed on Britainâ€™s roads for every 30 million miles travelled by cycle - the equivalent to well over 1,000 times around the world;
There were around 9.4 million cycle trips for every cyclist death;
The general risk of injury of any severity whilst cycling was just 0.05 per 1,000 hours of cycling.
According to a paper that looked at sports injuries, tennis is riskier than â€˜outdoor cyclingâ€™ (5 injuries per 1,000 hours for tennis, 3.5 for cycling). â€˜Rowing machine exerciseâ€™ came in at 6 injuries per 1,000 hours;
As mentioned above, the health benefits of cycling outweigh the injury risks by between 13:1 and 415:1, according to various studies (and depending on the benefits/disbenefits considered).
These facts, together with the reference sources, are included in our road safety briefing.
Despite this, many people are put off cycling because they think it's unsafe, although the 'British Social Attitudes Survey 2016' found that people are less worried about it than they were in 2011, when they were first asked about it:
Around 59% of non-cyclists in Britain feel that it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads. (ATT Statistical Release, August 2017).Nevertheless, Cycling UK believes that, unfortunately, the behaviour and attitudes of some road users, sub-standard highway layout and motor traffic volume and speed all conspire to make cycling feel and look more dangerous than it actually is. Risk per billion miles: is it going up or down?We think itâ€™s important not to measure the risk of cycling by the number of cyclist casualties alone (i.e. absolute numbers). How much cycling is going on comes into it too: i.e. more cycling casualties could simply reflect the fact that more people are out on their bikes. We therefore look at the risk of cycling per mile (or per trip) etc.:
Calculations based on traffic counts suggest that the risk of being killed whilst cycling per billion miles cycled has dropped since 2005. In contrast, though, when cyclist fatalities are combined with reported serious injuries (KSI), the record for recent years is mixed, but it seems clear that the risk is higher than the 2005-2009 baseline average:
Source for both the above charts: RRCGB (RAS 30013).
For more background on cyclist road casualties, see:
Cycling UK news story on the Dept for Transport's 'Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016' (published September 2017)
Dept for Transport's useful summary, Focus on Pedal Cyclists
The 'safety in numbers' effectThere is good evidence to suggest that increasing cycling exposes each individual to a lower risk of injury: a doubling in cycling has been linked with a 40% increase in cycling casualties â€“ or a 34% reduction in the relative risk to each individual. In 2009, Cycling UK compiled evidence from over 100 English local authorities and found that it appears to be less risky to cycle in places where there are higher levels of cycle commuting. Providing well for cycling, of course, is key to such success.
See our Safety in Numbers campaign for more. Absolute numbersIn absolute numbers, reported cyclist casualties for the last few years are as follows:
Source RRCGB (RAS 30001) How risky is cycling when compared to other forms of transport?Per mile, cyclists are about as likely as pedestrians to be killed on the roads - in fact, in both 2014 and 2015, pedestrians seemed to be more at risk. Cycling and walking, however, are both more risky than car driving, although motorcycling is the most risky kind of transport of all - around 3 - 3.5 times more so than walking or cycling:
Source: RRCGB (RAS 30070)