The Department for Transport has, this week, published figures on the number of fatalities as a result of road traffic collisions across Great Britain between 2000 and 2013.
While the statistics show the overall number of deaths has fallen, with 2% fewer deaths in 2013 than in 2012, this is not the case across all road user groups. Fatalities among motorcyclists increased over the same period with a total of 328 motorbike riders or passengers killed in road collisions in 2012, rising to 331 in 2013.
The figures also bring to light the continued vulnerability of pedal cyclists on Britain’s roads. Over the 13 year period, car occupant fatalities have fallen by 47% from 1,665 in 2000 to 785 in 2013. Pedestrian deaths have shown a similar rate of decrease, falling 46% from 857 in 2000 to 398 last year. However, in 13 years, the number of cyclists killed in road collisions in Britain has fallen by just 14%, from 127 in 2000 to 109 last year.
Peter Mulhern, head of the serious injury team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “These figures show that the number of people killed in reported road traffic collisions in Great Britain in 2013 - 1,713 -was the lowest since national records began. However, despite appearances, these are not positive statistics: this still means that close to 2,000 individuals lost their lives on our roads last year.
“Furthermore, these figures only take into account the road traffic collisions that have been reported, meaning the actual figure could be much higher.
“We must not let the overall decrease in deaths take away from the fact that motorcyclist fatalities actually rose last year – or that only 18 fewer cyclists were killed in 2013 than in 2000. These statistics demonstrate the ongoing danger these particularly vulnerable road users face on our roads every day.
“We must not rest on our laurels and assume that road fatalities will continue, over time, to fall. Even one tragic death that could be avoided is one too many, and steps must be taken to improve road safety for all users.”