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London top of the crash league
29.03.08 by Buffalo Bill

I was idling surfing around the Deposited Papers section of the Parliament web-site, using search term ‘cycl’, and the first item I hit was ‘Reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one pedal cyclist, by parliamentary constituency: England 2002 – 2006’. Yeah, I know: fascinating, eh?

Well, sort of is, yeah. It opens into a spread-sheet and a few clicks later, I have re-sorted the list by 2006 ascending, instead of alphabetically by constituency name. OK, ok, I admit it: it’s the lazy journalists favourite space-filler The League Table. But I am not a journalist (lazy maybe!) so I am not calling it a League Table. I couldn’t really come up with a snappier title without mangling the description and traducing its significance. Which really would be lazy journalism.

The English Parliamentary Constituencies with the most reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one pedal cyclist in 2006

  1. Cities of London and Westminster – 342
  2. Cambridge – 173
  3. Holborn and St. Pancras – 142
  4. North Southwark and Bermondsey – 134
  5. Kensington and Chelsea – 134
  6. Vauxhall – 132
  7. Islington South and Finsbury – 111
  8. Bristol West – 106
  9. City of York – 100
  10. Hackney South and Shoreditch – 97

Whoa!, (insert your preferred exclamation of surprise) London scores 7 out of the top 10. Ok, now, for a bit of balance, here’s the bottom 10.

The English Parliamentary Constituencies with the least reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one pedal cyclist in 2006
519. Upminster – 8
520. Wirral West – 8
521. Edmonton – 7
522. Ludlow – 7
523. Berwick-upon-Tweed – 6
524. Colne Valley – 6
525. North Durham – 6
526. Romford – 5
527. Blaydon – 4
528. Keighley – 3

For really meaningful conclusions, these results need to be cross-referenced against the figures for distance travelled by cyclists. But it’s not a surprise that nearly all of the Central London constituencies that make up the Congestion Charge Zone are in the top 10. My guess would be that this area has the densest use of cycles in the country. I have no idea about Bristol West, but Cambridge and York are colloquially cycle cities, so it’s no surprise that they are up there too.

If I was a lazy journalist, I would make Central London the CYCLE CRASH CAPITAL OF ENGLAND. As I am not lazy, I would surmise that the table gives a filtered picture of the greatest use of cycles. If you look at the bottom 10, you can see that the Greater London Parl Const represented are all, well, not really in London. Probably, cycle use is very low in Edmonton, Upminster and Romford. I wouldn’t know, not having ever looked at the stats or even been there any time in the last 20 years.

One thing that jumps off the page: the numbers for all the top 7 bar Islington and Finsbury are going up, not down. (The overall figure for killed and seriously injured London cyclists has been falling for a number of years). This probably mirrors an increase in cycling, as opposed to an increase in danger to cyclists.

It’s alos important to note that these are only the reported collision that resulted in injuries. I know for a fact that a lot of messengers shrug off anything short of a broken limb. Not out of machismo, necessarily, because the females are as likely to forgo medical attention as the males, but simply because the job conditions you to get on with it whatever. Which means that these figures are probably a record of crashes that result in a hospital visit, as opposed to all crashes that resulted in injury. It’s obviously impossible to accurately estimate how many crashes resulting in injuries go unreported, but the typical estimate is 90% of slight injuries are unreported.

Anyway, thanks to the excellent Your Right To Know website, where I found the link. Amazing what you can find, if someone else points it out for you, isn’t it?

Oh whoops, I did call it a league, didn’t I? Sorry!

  1. “I have no idea about Bristol West,”

    i don’t either, but i do know that it’s rhyming slang :-p

    — sleepy    30 March 2008, 14:28    #
  2. Hi Bill,

    Looking at your list, the only part of town I ride through regularly is Kensington and Chelsea, full of 4×4’s, private schools and twats who refuse to use public transport in case it soils their souls.
    They were the last to get the congestion zone and squealed like pigs at the 80p per day they now have to pay to drive from one end of London to the other.
    Hopefully, Ken will get re-elected and if we can’t tax their ridiculous cars off the road at least we can take satisfaction in knowing how much they’re spending on their “lifestyle choices”.

    — Alex Ball    31 March 2008, 09:47    #
  3. i’ve probably had more crashes in bristol west than any of the london boroughs

    there is a lot of bikes there, more these days

    — Get up and run    31 March 2008, 17:11    #
  4. I usually go to Bristol West to escape the cars!! It has a nice big park, and many quiet roads.

    I think the high number of accidents may be due to some busy main roads with dodgy bus lanes. Its also an area with steep narrow roads, and lots of on street parking of Chelsea tractors.

    Perception wise the roads there should be safe, cars move slowly, there isn’t too much madness going on, or stupid road layouts. But then its not unknown for something perceived to be safe to actually become more dangerous as a result. (And council road safety measures are often dangerous to cyclists)

    As previously commented there are a lot of people on bicycles round there as well, which is perhaps skewing the stats.

    Chris H    2 April 2008, 00:31    #
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