How many pedestrians are killed by cyclists? Figures on deaths and injuries from bikes versus drivers explained

As the Government promises a new law to punish killer cyclists, we take a look at how often pedestrians are killed by bikes in the UK.

<p>Dangerous cycling: analysis of Department for Transport figures shows how many pedestrians are hit by bikes and killed each year</p>

Dangerous cycling: analysis of Department for Transport figures shows how many pedestrians are hit by bikes and killed each year

Cyclists could soon face tougher restrictions on the roads, with speed limits and number plate requirements among the new ideas floated by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

In a shake-up of road laws, Mr Shapps has also pledged to create a new ‘death by dangerous cycling law’ that will see bike riders face as harsh penalties as motorists if they kill pedestrians or other road users through a lack of care or excessive speed.

It follows a government consultation in 2018 about whether new laws were needed to punish those who cycle irresponsibly.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mr Shapps cited cyclists running red lights or exceeding 20 mile per hour speed limits as examples of bad behaviour that must be curbed – although the measures are yet to be formally announced as government policy.

But how many pedestrians are killed or injured by cyclists in Britain each year - and how does it compare to the dangers faced by cyclists?

NationalWorld has crunched the numbers to find the answers – with the figures showing cyclists themselves are at increased risk on the nation’s roads, with fatalities soaring by more than 40% in the latest year.

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Here’s everything you need to know.

How many pedestrians are killed by cyclists?

Between 2013 and 2020, fewer than four (3.8) pedestrians were killed in collisions with a cyclist each year on average, Department for Transport (DfT) figures on road traffic accidents in Great Britain show.

Annual peaks came in 2013 and 2019, when six fatalities were recorded each, compared to a low of one in 2018. In 2020, there were four deaths.

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An annual average of 137 pedestrians were seriously injured during the same period. In total, there were 30 deaths and 1,093 serious injuries across the eight years.

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The data does not specify whether an accident was the cyclist’s fault, however.

The Department also does not provide a count of fatalities or injuries suffered by cyclists during collisions with pedestrians.

The number of serious injuries is an estimate, as many police forces changed their definition of serious in 2016. The DfT has adjusted the figures to create a consistent series if all forces had been using the same definition all the time.

How often are pedestrians killed by motorists? 

More than 100 times more pedestrians are killed by motorists every year on average compared to by cyclists.

Between 2013 and 2020, there were 3,324 fatalities recorded, and 49,608 serious injuries. The annual average was 416 deaths and 6,201 serious injuries.

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Cars kill by far and away the most pedestrians (2,324 since 2013), followed by heavy goods vehicles (459) and light goods vehicles (250).

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How many cyclists have been killed on UK roads?

Between 2013 and 2020, 865 cyclists were killed in road traffic accidents – an annual average of 108.

But in 2020, the total climbed by 41%, from 100 to 141.

An additional 35,301 cyclists were seriously injured during that eight-year period, with the total increasing by 2% year-on-year in 2020, from 4,120 to 4,215.

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Earlier this year the Highway Code was overhauled to provide better protection for cyclists and pedestrians.

It introduced a hierarchy of road users based on a principle that those who can do the most harm have the greatest responsibility to avoid it.

Pedestrians were at the top of the list, as those who can do least harm, followed by cyclists then horse riders.

Drivers must now give cyclists a birth or at least 1.5 metres when overtaking, and more when they are driving at over 30mph.

What new rules could cyclists face? 

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Mr Shapps told the Daily Mail this week (16 August) that he supports extending speed limit restrictions to cyclists, particularly in 20 mile per hour zones.

Currently, speed limits do not apply to cyclists, although councils do have rarely-used powers to impose them.

The question of whether or not cyclists should be subject to speed restrictions raised further questions about whether they needed registration plates and insurance, Mr Shapps said.

There has been no official announcement about extending such regulations to cyclists, however.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We want cycling to be the natural first choice for shorter journeys, helping to improve air quality and health while reducing congestion on our roads.

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“We have set an ambitious vision that by 2030, half of all journeys in towns and cities are cycled or walked.

“Like all road users, cyclists have a duty to behave in a safe and responsible manner and follow the rules of the road.

“While there are no plans to introduce registration plates on bicycles, we continue to look at how we can improve road safety across all forms of transport and we are considering bringing forward legislation to introduce new offences around dangerous cycling.”