Road Safety Week kicks off today and focuses on how we can all become Bike Smart. The leading road safety charity, and Road Safety Week’s creator, Brake, has announced today that motorcyclists and cyclists are 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on our roads.

The annual event, which highlights the importance of improving road safety, is calling on drivers to be more ‘Bike Smart’. They ask that drivers slow down, take care to look properly at junctions and do the ‘Dutch reach’ to avoid car dooring.

Brake’s Key Analysis

Today, Brake has released new analysis which highlights the vulnerability of those on two wheels. Bikers and cyclists are, in comparison with car drivers, 34 times more likely to be killed and 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured, per mile travelled, on British roads.

Cyclists and motorcyclists account for nearly 4 in 10 of all deaths and serious injuries on British roads. This is a total of 9,740 in 2017 or an average of one bike death or serious injury every hour. Bike deaths also make up more than a quarter of all British road deaths, with a total of 101 cyclist deaths and 349 motorcyclist deaths in 2017.

Two-thirds of bike deaths in 2017, an average of 25 a month, took place on rural roads. This is the highest number of bike deaths on Britain’s rural roads for more than five years. Concerningly, the fatal crash risk facing bikes on rural roads – which accounts for miles travelled – is also at its highest since 2010.

The analysis has been published at the start of the UK’s biggest road safety event, Road Safety Week (19–25 November), coordinated by Brake. This year, thousands of organisations, schools and community groups are backing its ‘Bike Smart’ campaign, helping to raise awareness about the safety of those on two wheels.

Road Safety Week is calling for drivers to be ‘Bike Smart’ and be more aware of bikes by:

  • slowing down, giving more time to spot danger and react.
  • looking properly for bikes before pulling out at junctions.
  • leaving at least 150cm between cars and a bike when overtaking.
  • by doing the ‘Dutch reach’, using the opposite hand to open a car door to help avoid ‘car dooring’ incidents.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:

“Every hour, a cyclist or motorcyclist is killed or seriously injured on a British road – each a tragedy that will devastate innumerable lives. Raising awareness about the safety of those on two wheels, who face much higher risk of death and serious injury than those in cars, is absolutely vital. We support the Government’s announcement of a review of the Highway Code to help keep cyclists safe and its stated focus on motorcyclists in the forthcoming road safety action plan.
“Rural roads, with their high speeds, blind bends and few cycle routes, pose particular danger to those on two wheels, with the risk of a fatal rural road bike crash now at its highest since 2010. The Government’s announced focus on rural road user safety is welcome and we encourage the consideration of rural road speed and bike-safe infrastructure, such as segregated cycle lanes, in its plans.
“Road Safety Week is a vital loudspeaker for individuals, communities and organisations to shout about road safety and raise awareness of the risks on our roads. With one bike rider being killed or seriously injured every hour in Britain, there is no better time for us all to be more ‘Bike Smart’.”