London cyclist deaths increase as more people take to two wheels

·3-min read

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on London’s roads increased by 12 per cent last year as more people took to two wheels during the pandemic.

Six cyclists were killed in 2020, up from five in 2019, while the number suffering serious injury increased from 773 to 862.

However, the overall risk of dying or being seriously injured while cycling in the capital fell by 24 per cent, due to more people than ever using a bike, with distances ridden up an estimated 46 per cent year-on-year.

This means the risk of being killed or seriously injured (KSI) fell from 1.2 to 0.9 incidents per million kilometres cycled.

The annual casualties in Greater London report from Transport for London said there was a 70 per cent increase in the numbers of drivers caught speeding. A total of 270,000 speeding offences were detected, with one motorist clocked at 160mph.

The total number of road deaths was down 23 per cent, from 125 in 2019 to 96 last year, but TfL said the death toll remained “unacceptable”. It expects the fall to be temporary due to changing travel patterns caused by the pandemic.

There were 56 serious injuries suffered by people using “other” vehicles such as e-scooters, up from 10 the previous year, but no e-scooter fatalities.

More than half of pedestrian fatalities, 24 out of 45, were as a result of a collision with a car driver. Fourteen deaths were recorded as “hit and run”.

Two deaths were caused by police pursuits.

Cars were involved in 66 per cent of all collisions resulting in death or injury, up from 62 per cent in 2019.

A third of deaths – 31, the same number as in 2019 - were in motorcycle or scooter riders, despite accounting for only three per cent of journeys. They represent 25 per cent of all people killed and seriously injured on the roads.

The number of people killed or seriously injured in or by a bus fell by 37 per cent to the lowest number on record, exceeding TfL’s target of achieving a 70 per cent reduction between 2005-9 and 2022.

TfL said further action was needed to achieve the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury from the transport network.

Lilli Matson, TfL’s chief safety, health and environment officer, said: “Last year saw the lowest number of road deaths in London on record, but we know that we cannot slow down on our Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury entirely.

“While it is encouraging to see the risks to some of our most vulnerable road users fall, including people walking and cycling, we know that risks for others including people riding motorcycles remain far too high.”

Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, from the Met’s roads and transport policing command, said: “Speeding continues to be the most significant contributor to deaths or serious injuries on roads.

“During the early stages of the pandemic, we observed some frankly shocking cases of speeding on London’s roads. In response we stepped up our enforcement activity and will continue to work with TfL and local authorities across London to further reduce speeding.”

Sian Berry, the Green party member of the London Assembly, said: "A reduction in road danger last year shows the impact reduced traffic can have in transforming Londoners’ lives.

“The Mayor should take today’s figures as evidence that getting people out of cars and onto safer, greener ways to get around is key to reaching our target of zero deaths on London’s streets.

“Londoners need more pedestrian crossings, more cycle lanes and slower speeds so that every road is as safe as possible as they return to their city.”

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Evening Standard Comment: Let’s make cycling the safest way to travel

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