23,000 cyclist accidents in Greater London between 2009-2013

Article date: 25 February 2015

A cyclist is involved in a road traffic accident every other hour in Greater London, according to data analysis conducted by Aviva.

Research of five years’ worth of police road traffic accident data* by Aviva shows that there were 22,988 motor accidents involving cyclists inside the M25 between 2009 and 2013 – more than 12 every day.  Tragically, this number includes 80 fatalities. Already this year there have been four cyclist fatalities in London.

Research by the UK’s largest insurer also identified the top ten most dangerous roundabouts and junctions in London for cyclists (see table).

Simon Warsop, chief underwriting officer, Aviva, said: “Cycling in London has never been more popular but the continued rise in the number of accidents involving cyclists is alarming. The human cost of these incidents can be immeasurable and we believe more can be done to reduce them. Too many are killed on London’s roads and far more are seriously injured. The injuries cyclists suffer can be life-changing, and although we can fix broken metal, we can’t always fix broken bodies.

“Aviva believes an improved transport infrastructure would create safer streets which would reduce the risk of an accident for all road users. For example, we would support Transport for London’s (TfL) segregated London Cycle Superhighway and TfL’s Better Junctions Scheme.”

Aviva examined its own claims data** to highlight to all road users some of the common factors associated with serious accidents involving cyclists.

MAMILs cycling to work
According to Aviva’s claims data, commuters represent 64% of all seriously injured cyclist claimants. Half of these are MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra) as Aviva’s data shows one-third (32%) of all seriously injured cyclists were men aged 40 – 49 on their way to and from work.

HGVs disproportionately involved in serious cyclist accidents
Of the serious accidents involving cyclists reported to Aviva, vans (37%) and heavy goods vehicles (35%) were most frequently involved. HGVs are involved in more than 1 in 3 serious accidents with cyclists, but make up less than 1 in 20 vehicles on the road.

Gender disparity in safety measures
Aviva’s analysis of its claims data of accidents involving cyclists also found men and women take different approaches to personal safety. Men, for example, were more likely to wear a helmet (70% found to be wearing a helmet, compared with 50% of women). However, only 34% of men involved in serious road accidents were wearing high visibility clothing, compared with 44% of women.

In the dark
Aviva’s claims data showed that one-third (33%) of cyclists involved in serious accidents after dark were not using lights. It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors.

Aviva’s analysis comes as recent figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that nationally, cyclists are the only road user group where reported casualties remain above the 2005 – 2009 average. Cyclist casualties are also on the increase, according to the DfT figures, which show an 8% rise in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured***.

Simon Warsop continued, “London’s roads are some of the nation’s busiest, and most people are keen to get where they are going to as quickly as possible. However, we would urge all road users to be more aware of each other and the dangers on the roads.

“The good news is that most of these factors are within our control as responsible motorists and cyclists. Taking necessary road safety precautions**** and looking out for each other will help cut the number and severity of accidents involving cyclists. It’s better to get home safely than not at all.”

Top ten cyclist accident hotspots in London*
Location Cyclist accidents 2009-2013 2013
 Elephant and Castle roundabout  80  18
 Trafalgar Square  46  8
 Waterloo Road roundabout  45  11
 Lambeth Bridge/Millbank roundabout  38  9
 Upper Tooting Road/ Lessingham Ave, Ansell road/ Derinton Road  34  8
 Grove Road/Mile end Road  32  6
 Vauxhall Bridge/ Wandsworth Road  31  3
 Monument tube station junction  29  10
Camberwell New Road/Brixton Road  28  9
Camberwell New Road/Kennington Road/ Harleyford Street  28  5
Total  391  87
Cycling accidents inside the M25*   
   2009-2013  2013
No of accidents  22,988  4,978
Fatalities  80  16

****CTC, the national cycling charity, shared the following safety advice for motorists and cyclists:
Safety Tips for Drivers

  1. Always look carefully for cyclists before pulling out at a junction or roundabout. Junctions are risky places for cyclists - around three quarters of incidents happen at or near them.
  2. Always look carefully for cyclists before making any turning manoeuvre or changing lanes in slower-moving/stationary traffic. This is particularly important for lorry drivers.
  3. Leave plenty of space when overtaking a cyclist
  4. Never cut in/turn left sharply after overtaking a cyclist.
  5. Drive at a considerate speed, don’t accelerate or brake rapidly without good reason around cyclists or follow them impatiently/too closely. ‘Tailgating’ intimidates drivers and cyclists.
  6. Signal intentions clearly to cyclists.
  7. Do not park in cycle lanes, as this forces cyclists using them to pull out into the main stream of traffic, a manoeuvre that could put them at risk.
  8. Look out for cyclists before opening a car door, and make sure your passengers do likewise. It is an offence to injure or simply endanger someone by opening a vehicle door, or permitting someone else to do so.

Safety Tips for Cyclists

  1. Never undertake a lorry on the left hand side, especially if you are at a junction.
  2. Make eye contact with other road users, particularly at junctions, side roads and on roundabouts. Scan the road surface continuously for defects such as potholes.
  3. Regularly look behind to see what is happening all around.
  4. Get out of the gutter! Keeping away from the gutter will enable drivers to see you and help you miss the drain covers and debris on the side of the road.
  5. Leave plenty of room when passing parked vehicles; watch out for doors being opened into your path.
  6. Make your intentions clear. Check behind, signal and manoeuvre well in advance, and only when it is safe to do so. If it’s safer, keep your hands on the handlebar and brake levers rather than signalling.
  7. By law, when it's dark or there is bad visibility, you must have lights on the front and rear of your bike.
  8. Consider taking National Cycle Training or Bikeability to cycle safety on the roads. From beginner to experienced cyclist, you can benefit from professional cycle training.
  9. Be visible: wear reflective gear and use bike lights any time visibility is low or poor.

- Ends -

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

David Gwyer; 01603 685147; 07800 692544; david.gwyer@aviva.co.uk
Erik Nelson; 01603 682264; 07989 427086; erik.nelson@aviva.co.uk

Notes to editors:

*Source:The Stats 19 database of accidents reported to and/or attended by police inside the M25.
**Aviva 2013 motor claims data for serious accidents involving cyclists (claims > £125,000).
*** https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/401295/quarterly-estimates-jul-to-sep-2014.pdf

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