Rise in cycling deaths highlights ‘appalling’ road layouts

Cyclist casualties across the UK rose by 7% last year, up from 104 in 2009 to 111 in 2010.  On Monday, the fashion student Min Joo Lee, 24, became the 13th cyclist to be killed in London this year she was hit by an HGV while navigating the Kings Cross one-way system near York Way.

There is massive reconstruction going on in the Kings Cross area and the roads are clogged with construction and heavy goods vehicles.  The University of the Arts has recently relocated the to area. It opened last month and 3,500 students will attend the college each day.  The roads around Kings Cross are now adorned by scores of bikes locked to street furniture. Joo Lee was a student at the college.

The Department for Transport (DfT) annual report on UK road casualties, released last week, shows that cyclist deaths across the UK rose by 7% last year, up from 104 in 2009 to 111 in 2010.

DfT statisticians analysed reported casualties by day and time of day. They found that 60% of cyclist casualties occur during the rush hours of 7am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm, and more road accidents happen on a Monday to Thursday (65%) than at the weekend (45%). The DfT report concludes that the cyclist deaths are likely to be related to school and work travel.

The rise in cyclist deaths contrasts with the fact that fatalities fell for all other types of road user; the number of car occupants killed fell by 21%, and 19% fewer pedestrians and 15% fewer motorcyclists died on the roads.  But DfT statistics indicate that the overall trend is downwards, with the number of UK cyclists killed in 2010 40% lower than the 1994-98 average. The average number of cyclists killed each year during that period was 186 a year.  The DfT also acknowledged that cycling is on the increase, reporting a 1% increase in cycling between 2009 and 2010.

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