Cyclist Deaths Increase as Cycling Increases Through Pandemic

Posted on: 3 mins read
Susan Vanden

Partner, Road Traffic Accident Technical Manager

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Pedal cyclists are some of the most vulnerable on UK roads and since the pandemic, cycling has increased on the roads in England and Wales.

National Travel Attitudes Study did some research in 2020 which showed that 79% of people surveyed were using buses less and 34% said they were cycling more.

Recent data from the Department of Transport (DoT) highlighted that pedal cycle traffic has increased by 96% since 2004 and the above research shows that this has followed a step rise in 2020.

Cycle Fatalities and Injuries in 2020

In 2020, 141 cyclists were killed on UK roads. 4,215 were seriously injured and 11,938 slightly injured – so a total of 16,294 cyclists were killed or injured on the roads during 2020.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a road accident whilst out on a bike, you could be entitled to make a Cycling Road Traffic Accident Claim.

Get in touch with our specialist team of Cycling Road Traffic Accident Solicitors to see how we can help you. 

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Rural Road Cycle Fatalities

DoT data shows that more than half of all bicycle fatalities happened on country roads in the last 5 years (2015 to 2020), despite them having only 29% of all traffic.

Recent stats for 2020 show that 29 more cyclists died on country roads during 2020 than in 2019.
89 cyclists died on rural roads in 2020, 60 in 2019 and only 48 in 2018.

You can see the very real increase in cyclist deaths on rural roads even though there was even less traffic on the roads through the pandemic.

More Fatal Bicycle Accidents In Lockdown

DoT data shows that the number of people cycling grew massively during the pandemic and that an increase in the number of fatalities directly corresponds with the two lockdowns in 2020.

There was a large spike of fatal bicycle accidents in April, May, June and November 2020 and these were the corresponding months to lockdowns 1 and 2.

The only anomaly in the data was a spike of bicycle deaths in August 2020, when the country was not locked down, but this could simply be that more people were on holiday, the weather was likely to be good and therefore more people would choose to be out on their bicycles.

Cyclist fatalities rose by 41% in 2020, which is a significant increase from fairly flat trends over the last 5 years. 

More Men Affected Than Women

In the last 5 years, 83% of people killed or injured on a bicycle were male, with men and women were aged 30 to 59 most likely to be killed or injured on their bicycle.
You can see that whilst the number of cyclists on the road during the pandemic rose significantly, so did the number of fatalities.

Mid-Year Statistics for 2021

The DoT has already pulled its stats for road safety for January to June 2021. They’ve chosen to compare them with baseline data from 2017 to 2019 as the stats from 2020 are problematic with 2 lockdowns and significantly reduced traffic levels on the roads.

They are still seeing an increase of cyclists killed or injured on the roads in April and June. It will be interesting to review the full year statistics once they’re released.

How To Keep Yourself Safe Whilst Cycling on the Roads

It’s really important as a cyclist that you make yourself as visible as possible when you’re riding.

  • Make sure you have front and rear lights fitted to your bike
  • Avoid wearing dark clothing to help other road users see you
  • Throughout the winter, be aware of the roads being slippier with wet road surfaces, leaves and ice.

There is some discussion between cyclists around wearing cycle helmets, but there is anecdotal evidence that they can reduce the severity of head injuries.

And finally, make sure get your bike maintained regularly, particularly after the winter months.

Cycle Accident Solicitors

Our experienced team of Cycle Accident Solicitors can help you to get the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a cycle accident or a loved one has been killed.

We've spent years helping cyclists and their families get the compensation, rehabilitation and support they need when they or their loved ones have been hurt or killed in a cycling accident.

These are some examples which will show you how we've been able to help:

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