Cycling is safe

Cycling is safe

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The public perception of the dangers of cycling is a long way from the truth.

Cycling is safer than gardening

  • Cycling is a safe activity. As policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said at the launch of British Cycling’s ‘Time to #ChooseCycling’ manifesto, ‘cycling is now safer than gardening’.
  • The figures from ROSPA show that an estimated 300,000 people in Britain each year are hospitalised because of injuries sustained while gardening.
  • This compares to 19,000 people were injured while cycling– that’s not even 10% of the number of people injured gardening.
  • There is just one death every 1,000 times pedalled around the Earth.
  • The National Travel Survey in 2012 suggests that the general risk of injury from cycling in the UK is just one injury per 19,230 hours of cycling.
  • The Reported Road Casualties annual report (2012), 118 people were killed in the United Kingdom during 2012.  While this is 118 too many, and we would of course like roads to be safer, the figure of cycling deaths pales in comparison to the 14,000 other deaths caused by accidents in the UK.

Cycling is safer than walking

  • You are less likely to be killed in a mile of cycling than mile walking (DfT 2011)
  • Research by the University College London has shown that an individual who cycles one hour a day for 40 years would cover about 180,000km, while accumulating only a one in 150 chance of fatal injury.

Is it safe NOT to cycle?

  • Driving is a sedentary activity so if you choose to replace one of the trips by bike health benefits outweigh the risk by 20 times.
  • Two thirds of all car journeys are less than five miles – that’s just a 25 minute bike ride.
  • If we replace just 1 in 10 of our journeys by car it would lead to a direct saving to the NHS of £2.5 billion over 10 years. Read more on this in our ten-point #ChooseCycling plan. 
  • For every person who replaces half of their car journeys by bike it delivers benefits worth £590 through improved public health, lower pollution and reduced congestion. (Cycling England 2009)
  • Research carried out by the University College London has shown that cycling is five times safer than driving for young male drivers between the ages of 17-20 years of age.

Cycling is getting safer

  • The ‘safety in numbers’ effect means that the more people cycle the safer it becomes.  The Netherlands is currently the safest place in the world to cycle. It’s a completely normal part of everyday culture.
  • Thanks to British Cycling there are now two-million people who cycle once a week and this number is increasing rapidly.
  • There has been a 40% reduction since 1994 in cyclists killed on the roads.
  • Historical trends suggest that cycling in London has become safer. While the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSIs) has increased slightly over the last few years, the number of people cycling has increased by 150% according to TFL data.  

To find out more on cycling safely check out our commuting homepage

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