Boris challenged to act over 50% increase in cycling injuries

21 November 2012

As the number of cycling injuries on London’s roads has risen by 50 per cent[1]  since 2006, a new report[2]    Gearing Up – by the London Assembly has recommended both doubling funding for cycling and targets for the number of journeys made by bike.

Published during National Road Safety Week, the report calls on Mayor Boris Johnson to respond to falling cycle safety by prioritising ways to encourage more people on to bikes and reduce serious cycling incidents on London’s roads.

The Assembly’s recommendations to the Mayor, Transport for London (TfL) and the Government include:

  • doubling funding[3]  for cycling in TfL’s transport budget [4] 
  • timetabling an action plan for the east-west cycle ‘super corridor’
  • appointing a commissioner to champion cycling and;
  • more space on London's roads for cyclists, including using the experience of Games Lanes during London 2012
  • developing a plan to ensure all children in London receive cycle training

Gearing Up shows while cycle safety in London has improved overall since 2001, injuries have been on the increase since 2006. Evidence collected by the Assembly cited safety as the main reason why Londoners wouldn’t take up cycling in the capital.[5] 

The London Assembly’s Transport Committee also urges the Mayor to make his pledge to create a ‘cycling revolution’ more ambitious.[6] The report calls for him to double his target of having 5 per cent of journeys made by bike by 2026 to ten per cent following its analysis of current trends in London and other European cities. Copenhagen, for example, has set a target of 50 per cent of journeys to be made by bike by 2015. [7]

The investigation showed that as cycling participation increased in other European cities, the safety of cyclists improved. But in London, rising cycle numbers do not appear to be having the same positive impact. [8] The report also calls on the Mayor to encourage more participation as currently only 7 per cent of suitable journeys are made by bike.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, said:

“Following a strong interest in cycling during the 2012 Games, it’s of great concern that cycle safety in London is now showing a decline in real terms. We are calling on the Mayor to act quickly to back up the warm words that make up his vision for cycling with real substance that has an impact on boosting safe cycling in London.

“Our report shows measures such as doubling cycling funding, making more space on our roads for cyclists and improving junction design, and trialling creative ideas to improve safety could all play a part in encouraging more journeys in London to be made by bike. A more ambitious vision backed by real political will and safer conditions could help London reach the high levels of cycling seen in other European capitals.”

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

  1. Pedal cyclist injuries rose 50 per cent  in London from 2958 to 4497 between 2006 and 2011 (all roads). While the number of cycling journeys taken rose 16 per cent between 2006 to 2010, the number of injuries rose at nearly double this rate. Source: Transport for London

Year

 

Slight injuries

Serious injuries

Fatal injuries

Total

2001

2857

444

21

3322

2002

2648

394

20

3062

2003

2616

421

19

3056

2004

2620

332

8

2960

2005

2523

351

21

2895

2006

2566

373

19

2958

2007

2509

446

15

2970

2008

2757

430

15

3202

2009

3236

420

13

3669

2010

3540

457

10

4007

2011

3926

555

16

4497

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Gearing Up – London Assembly Transport Committee report on cycling safety
  2. In 2013/14 allocate the report asks that at least £145m is spent on cycling in London (which is equivalent to 2 per cent of TfL’s budget). For subsequent years, TfL should set out the resources it will require to meet the Mayor’s target to increase cycling.
  3. The report also calls for TfL and the Mayor to rebalance cycling spending in the new business plan by allocating more funding to outer London boroughs, to ensure that outer London is part of the cycling revolution.
  4. Cycle safety was both the most significant barrier for non-cyclists not taking up cycling (27 per cent) in London and it stops 10 per cent of current cyclists cycling more. (TfL’s Cycle Safety Action Plan, March 2010)
  5. The Mayor’s plan for a “cycling revolution”
  6. Copenhagen has a target to make cycling the mode of choice for 50 per cent of commuter and education-related trips in 2015, up from 36 per cent in 2010.
  7. Evidence from other countries indicates that higher cycling rates have led to fewer casualties. The Dutch Cycling Embassy told us that as cycling increased in the Netherlands in the 1970s and 1980s, cycling fatalities dropped. In Copenhagen, as cycling grew by 50 per cent between 1995 and 2010, the risk of cycle casualties reduced four-fold in the same period. TfL’s evidence suggested that cycling casualty increases in 2011 should be seen in the context of an increase in the number of cyclists. Our analysis in Graph 1 (p19) shows that the safety in numbers effect in London has not prevented an increase in the cycling casualty rate between 2007 and 2010.
  8. Caroline Pidgeon AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.
  9. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For more details, please contact Sheena Craig in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4603/ 07795 616 902.  For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.