Cyclist casualties increase in number and severity
Thousands of cyclists have been injured and some killed on Sheffield’s roads over the past decade – incidents that are rising in number and severity.
The figures from South Yorkshire Police were uncovered using a Freedom of Information request and showed a total of 1,445 cyclist casualties – including three deaths, 314 serious casualties and 1,128 slight injuries – had happened within the last 10 years.
The three deaths were all a result of dangerous or careless driving, according to official records.
Incidents had risen and increased in severity – in 2008 the proportion of serious casualties amounted to 19.8 per cent. This had gone up to 37.2 percent in 2018.
The worst year was 2017 when there were 162 incidents involving cyclists on the roads.
However Dexter Johnstone, of Cycle Sheffield, said the real figures were likely to be far higher.
He said: “The slight accidents involving cyclists will be under-reported. Reporting these is time consuming and results in little or no action. The problem will be worse than the statistics show.”
Mr Johnstone added that the worsening situation was likely down to a lack of safe cycle infrastructure and cuts to police funding.
“It’s a result of the lack of safe, protected cycle infrastructure in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. This is also the reason why cycling levels in South Yorkshire are so low.
“The increase in casualties for people cycling are a result of ongoing austerity cuts to policing which have disproportionately fallen on road policing which has meant that the roads are more dangerous now for vulnerable road users.”
Despite this, Mr Johnstone thinks cycling is still one of the safest modes of transport.
“Having said all that it is important to say that cycling on the road is not a particularly dangerous activity, it is safer than walking.
“However, cycling in Sheffield does not feel safe, or convenient, or an attractive option and this is what prevents most people from making their journeys by bike in Sheffield. This will remain the case until Sheffield Council invests in safe, protected cycle infrastructure.”
The council said the number of people cycling had increased in recent years by nearly 20 per cent which it claims is a result of improved infrastructure.
It also set a target in 2015 to increase the number of people cycling nearly sixfold by 2035.
Councillor Bob Johnson, cabinet member for transport and development, said: “Any incident that occurs on our roads is taken very seriously and we are continually looking to improve safety for everyone.
“In our transport strategy we recognise we have to make our city safe and promote sustainability for all. Our cycle network is clearly a huge part of that process. The Transforming Cities Fund details more than £80m of improvements that we wish to make, with many schemes specifically aimed at improving safety for cyclists.
“It is of course concerning to see an increase in serious incidents in the last two years. This may in part be down to a change in the way these figures are recorded and increased levels of cycling and that’s what these safety measures are so important in our plans to deliver better cycle routes.
“We will work with stakeholders and groups such as Cycle Sheffield to improve our cycle network and encourage more journeys to be made on two wheels or on foot.”
2008 Fatal 0. Serious 21. Slight 85. Total 106.
2009 Fatal 0. Serious 24. Slight 105. Total 129.
2010 Fatal 0. Serious 22. Slight 100. Total 122.
2011 Fatal 0. Serious 18. Slight 102. Total 120
2012 Fatal 0. Serious 27. Slight 86. Total 113.
2013 Fatal 1. Serious 20. Slight 103. Total 124.
2014 Fatal 0. Serious 32. Slight 129. Total 161.
2015 Fatal 1. Serious 21. Slight 119. Total 141
2016 Fatal 1. Serious 30. Slight 99. Total 130.
2017 Fatal 0. Serious 48. Slight 114. Total 162.
2018 Fatal 0. Serious 51. Slight 86. Total 137.