The annual figures measuring death and serious injury to cyclists in London reveal a significant drop in the numbers killed or seriously injured in 2013 compared to the previous year.
The figures, published today, show there were 475 serious injuries to cyclists in 2013, compared with 657 in 2012 – that 28 per cent fall means that around one in every 433,000 cycle journeys made in London end in the cyclist being killed or seriously injured (KSI). That is the second-lowest rate ever recorded, just behind figures for 2006, when there was one KSI for every 434,000 journeys by bike.
A number of factors have been responsible for this reduction. In part it is due to ‘Operation Safeway’, a Metropolitan Police initiative which ran in November and December. Hundreds of officers were placed on street corners mointoring dangerous behaviour by lorry drivers, motorists and cyclists.
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, acknowledges there is still work to be done however: “Whilst these new figures are encouraging and a real move in the right direction one death or serious injury is one too many. That is why I am building new, protected cycle routes and better junctions, the first of which will be delivered this year.
“It is why I intend to ban all lorries not fitted with cyclist safety equipment from London. It’s why we are investing the thick end of £1 billion on cycle safety and infrastructure. And it is why I am today confirming ‘Son of Safeway’ police operations to maintain the improvements in behaviour we have seen from all road users,” said Johnson.
London’s cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan added: “The tragic deaths of six cyclists over a two week period in November 2013 perhaps understandably led to claims that cycling in London was unsafe, and getting more dangerous. In fact the truth is that as a whole cycling in London in 2013 became dramatically safer.
“If we are to improve safety still further, we need to be honest with ourselves about why accidents happen and why they have come down so much. We need to build safer roads, and the introduction of more segregated infrastructure can improve things still further, but as coroners have emphasised in recent inquest verdicts, people also have a responsibility to use those roads safely.
“Our work to change road users’ behaviour is not, as some cyclists seem to think, a distraction from the ‘real job’ of building segregated routes and junctions. The truth is that we need to do both, and we will do both.”
A new police operation will run twice a month, on unannounced days, with up to 1,000 police officers and staff stationed simultaneously at around 100 junctions in inner London.
The original Operation Safeway stationed police at 170 junctions over a seven-week period. Just under 14,000 fixed penalty notices were issued, of which 29.5 per cent were to cyclists and 70.5 per cent to motorists.
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