A new study and report from the European Transport Safety Council has shown that Britain is making slower progress than other countries on the Continent in reducing the death toll of cyclists on our roads.
The new report found that around 25,000 cyclists have died on European roads in the past decade and it found that as an overall rule cyclists and pedestrians were not receiving ‘a fair share’ of resources. This has come at a time where the government in the UK has announced a huge £23 million will be cut from the £114 million that had been pledged to improve safety for cyclists in eight selected cities across the country.
Within Europe, Britain has been ranked 23rd for progress in tackling cycling deaths over the periods between 2003 and 2013, with analysts finding a fall of less than 3% within that time. The director of the European Transport Safety Council reiterated that cycling and road safety simply aren’t getting their fair share of road safety attention and improvements, despite the environmental and health benefits.
Britain’s Cyclists at Risk
Britain has one of the lowest mortality rates for cyclists when measured on a per million inhabitants basis, but this type of calculation doesn’t take into account the number of people who cycle with some countries such as the Netherlands known for their much higher rate of cyclists.
The UK also has amongst the worst rates for cyclist deaths caused by collisions with HGVs and buses in Europe, with 30% of all fatalities reported as caused by large vehicles, even though these vehicles only make up a small percentage of all traffic on our roads. Within the European Union only Romania, Austria and Slovenia were found to have made slower progress than the UK in reducing the death toll for cyclists and this is something the government needs to take steps to change.
The European Transport Safety Council also laid out some suggestions for nations to consider to help bring down fatality rates and they include trying to ‘arrange for cycle traffic and motorised traffic to be physically separated where the speed of the latter is too big or where the traffic slow is too high’ for safety for all vehicles involved.
In the same week we have also seen Halfords call for the government to create a module exclusively for cycle awareness on the driving theory test. It seems that many big agencies, NGOs, government bodies and road safety campaigns are recognising that something needs to be done for cyclists on the road, so the next step is for the government to start putting some measures in place.