Calls have been raised for ‘urgent’ action to improve road safety after figures revealed the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) rose by almost a tenth last year.
Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show 3,500 pedal cyclists KSI casualties were recorded in the year ending September 2014, marking an 8% increase on 2013.
Cycling charity CTC said the figures meant risk per mile of a cycling injury was now around 14% above the 2005-9 average, while the fatal and serious injury risk was up by almost a quarter.
The total number of KSI casualties on Great Britain’s roads reached 24,360 last year, 4% more than in 2013.
The number of people killed rose by 1% to 1,730, while the number of road casualties of all severities climbed by 5% to 192,910.
Claire Francis, head of policy for Sustrans said the 4% rise of fatal or serious accidents in built-up areas supported the ‘critical’ importance of 20mph limits in urban locations.
‘The rise in cyclists’ casualties underlines the urgent need to make our roads safer,’ she said.
‘We need the right environment for safe cycling and the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England voted into the Infrastructure Bill is vital to make this happen. The Government will have to spell out long-term ambition and funding in order to make this a reality and make it safe for people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle for local everyday journeys.’
Labour’s shadow roads minister, Richard Burden, said the ‘alarming’ statistics revealed the Government was wrong to remove targets to cut deaths and serious injury on the road.
‘David Cameron promised to protect front-line policing, but we now know that there are 16,701 fewer police officers on the streets than in 2010. Police chiefs and road safety campaigners are warning that reductions in police numbers have forced the police to retreat from Britain’s motorways and local roads, removing a vital deterrent against dangerous driving and crashes,’ Mr Burden said.
Roger Geffen, CTC campaigns and policy director added: ‘We need to create the conditions where cycling becomes a safe and normal travel option for day-to-day journeys. That would do wonders for our health, our wealth and our wallets.’
Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: 'Britain’s roads are still among the safest in the world and there are 40% fewer road deaths per year than a decade ago. The number of casualties fell in this quarter compared to the same period in 2013. There remains a significant long term decline in casualties. We are determined to do more to reduce these figures, working with the police and other agencies, such as promoting road awareness through our THINK! campaign.'