Roger Geffen, CTC's campaigns and policy manager, today gave evidence to the Commons Transport Select Committee enquiry on traffic law and enforcement. Geffen put the case for a change in traffic law to foster increased cycle use. He told MPs cycling is safer than the common perception.

Cycling is safe, Geffen tells MPs

Increasing cycle use can benefit road safety, said Geffen.

Citing new figures released at ‘Promoting Cycling and Safety – Addressing the Barriers’ conference at Aston University, Geffen said motor vehicles impose a far higher level of danger to pedestrians than cycles do.

The new figures, which relate to accidents in 2002, show that although a pedestrian in collision with a cycle is c4.5 times more likely to be injured than the cyclist, a pedestrian struck by a motor vehicle is c25 times more likely to be injured than the vehicle occupants and c57 more likely to be seriously or fatally injured. In addition, 192 times more pedestrians are injured in collision with motor vehicles than with cycles even though only 45 times as many trips are made by this mode of transport.

As well as representing a low risk to other road users, cycling conditions are becoming safer. Department for Transport statistics recently revealed that cycle use in the UK has increased by 10 per cent since 1993, yet the number of reported pedal casualties has decreased by 34 per cent over the same period.

“Cyclists are often represented as a danger to pedestrians, but these figures reveal that motor vehicles pose a far more serious and disproportionately high level of danger to all vulnerable road users," said Geffen.

"Not only is cycling getting safer, but this new evidence shows that increased cycle use will benefit road safety generally.”

He added: “In order to enjoy the benefits to road safety that increased cycle use will bring, it is vital that we see new and more strictly enforced traffic laws – particularly in order to stop speeding and drink-driving.”


The 167 reported pedestrian/cycle collisions in 2002 resulted in 170 pedestrian injuries (3 fatal, 40 serious) and 38 cyclist injuries (1 fatal, 9 serious). The 34,986 reported pedestrian/motor vehicle collisions in 2002 resulted in 32,034 pedestrian injuries (493 fatal, 6443 serious) and 1290 vehicle user injuries (8 fatal, 114 serious). Source: Casualty Road Figures Great Britain 2002

192 times more pedestrians are injured in collision with motor vehicles than with cycles even though only 45 times as many trips are made by this mode of transport. Even if figures are compared in terms of vehicle-kilometres rather than trips, the results are still favourable to cyclists – 110 times more vehicle-kilometres are covered by motorised vehicles than by cycles and this falls to 74 times if motorway and trunk roads where there are few pedestrians are excluded. These comparisons would favour cycling even more strongly if it were possible to make a like-for-like comparison by excluding travel by cyclists who are under the age for driving. Source: Transport Statistics Great Britain 2002

The figures behind the news that an increase in cycle use has resulted in a fall in reported pedal casualties can be downloaded as a PDF at:…/dft_transstats_023321.pdf…/dft_transstats_024324.csv

A Government press release which reveals that 59% of car drivers exceed 30mph limits can be viewed at:…/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2003_0068

The Government’s Road Safety Strategy states that “speed is a major contributory factor in about one-third of all road accidents. This means that each year excessive or inappropriate speed helps to kill 1,200 people and to injure over 100,000 more”. And that is by a pretty liberal definition of what constitutes “excessive or inappropriate speed” – i.e. whether the investigating police officer thought so at the time.…/dft_rdsafety_504644.hcsp

The introduction to the annual Road Casualties Great Britain report for 2002, estimates that 560 deaths and 20,000 injuries resulted from crashes where a driver was over the legal blood-alcohol limit. Levels of drink-drive-related casualties had been stable up to 2000, but have risen markedly in 2001 and 2002.…/dft_transstats_024275.pdf

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