A new study into road injuries has shown that British cyclists are three times more likely to suffer a fatal injury than their foreign counterparts.

The study made by the University of Surrey and published in the medical journal Injury Prevention, showed that a disproportionate ratio of injuries resulted in hospital treatment for cyclists than for car occupants. Figures were calculated based on hospital admissions.

According to figures in the report, 35,000 cyclists were admitted to hospital in England as a result of injury from a road collision compared with 71,000 car occupants during 1999-2004. But this figure only has meaning when you consider the disparity of trips made by bike and car – 637 car trips are made for every 15 by bike.

Researchers found that June was the worst month in terms of number of injuries to cyclists, although those sustained in the winter months tended to be more severe.

Injury and death rates for cyclists in Holland and Denmark, where cycling is a more prevalent form of transport, were much lower during the same period.

The report concluded that “encouragement of walking and cycling needs to be accompanied by serious efforts to ensure that safe traffic environments are established for pedestrians and cyclists.”

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  • MAB

    Belgium, despite the number of cyclist and the general level of awareness has its problems as well. The cycle aths are often not great. Also, drivers are drivers whereever they are as I learned last Tuesday after being knocked off my bike by adriver turning left across my right of way despite being done up like a Christmas tree.

    The Netherlands has a fantastic set of bike paths and you are mostly away from traffic on all but the quietest roads. I lived there for several years and can’t recall any real “oh sh!t!” moments.

  • Alistair Fitchett

    It seems to me that a large part of the issue is a cultural one, and those are the hardest to address. It does not help that when cycling and cars are dicussed in the media it is inevitably in a ‘versus’ situation. Simplifying the argument into ‘lycra louts’ and ‘demon drivers’ ultimately helps no-one. Yes we need passionate advocates for safe cycling, but it needs to be in a partnership approach. There are so many considerate drivers on our roads, but you never hear any stories about them…

  • Cyclosomatic

    It not just councils that need to wake up. It’s also the police and our legal system. Drivers are all too often getting away with running cyclists and pedestrians down without any kind of legal sanction; well all make mistakes eh? But it’s not good enough. When ever some one has driven in such a way as to knock down and injure another person they should be found guilty of careless driving at the least. In cases where there is a hint of road rage we should be convicting people of assault with a deadly weapon. The cycling silk puts the legal disparities very succinctly in his post:

  • Eros Polly

    So if a cyclist gets hit by a car, the cyclist is more likely to get injured than the car occupants.

    I think we knew that already!

  • John Treswick

    Confirms what we already knew – that riding on UK roads is a deadly experience. When will councils wake up and realise they should be doing more to protect cyclists