Cyclist deaths on the rise across Britain

Official statistics show UK roads are at their safest for drivers and pedestrians 

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The Independent Online

Britain’s roads are the safest they have ever been - for everyone except cyclists.

According to government statistics, road casualties have dropped to 1,754 a year - the lowest since records began in 1926.

By comparison, deaths and injuries among cyclists rose sharply. A total of 118 riders died in 2012 – a rise of 10 per cent on the year before - while a four per cent increase was noted in the number of serious injuries.

It is the only area where road casualties are on the up, aside from a small increase in the number of seriously injured pedestrians, another vulnerable group.

The number of cyclists on the road has risen in recent years, which may account for a correlative rise in the number of accidents, but campaigners maintain the jump in disproportionate.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "The good news of a large drop in road deaths in 2012 is marred by an increase in cyclist deaths, which occurred despite the poor weather in the main cycling seasons of spring and summer."

The findings come just weeks after the Government sent a delegation of British policymakers to the Netherlands to learn how to make the UK more cycle-friendly.

Speaking to The Independent, Philip Darnton, Head of the Bicycle Association, said: “We’ve never consistently invested in cycling infrastructure. It’s always been stop-start, on-off, party political. An administration changes and all the money disappears, which is a real killer.

“We’ve still got an elite cadre of cyclists – usually male and under the age of 35 – which is a million miles away from the Dutch culture, and it’s because cyclists are vulnerable.”