Deaths on London’s roads reach record low, though serious injury figure rises

Deaths on London’s roads reach record low, though serious injury figure rises

The number of people killed on London’s roads fell to its lowest number on record during 2018, although the number of road injuries defined as “serious” during the same period rose.

Road casualty statistics for the last full calendar year published by Transport for London (TfL) included 111 fatalities, just over half of whom (56) lost their lives while walking. A further 22 road deaths were of people riding motorcycles, 16 were in cars and 12 were cyclists. The remaining five were “other vehicle” or bus or coach occupants.

The number of deaths was down from 131 in 2017, when 73 people were killed while walking and 31 motorcyclists died, though the figures for motorcycles remains strikingly high in comparison to the number of journeys made on them – they comprise 20% of the deaths but account for only 1% of journeys in London. The number of cyclist deaths in 2017 was 10 and the number of car occupant deaths was 14.

A total of 3,945 road injuries were recorded as “serious” during 2018, compared with 3,750 in 2017. Within this category, there were year-on-year reductions in the number of pedestrians affected (still the highest number at 1,310) and of motorcyclists (1,058), but increases in those for cyclists (up to 770), car occupants (607), bus or coach occupants (111) and “other vehicle” occupants (98).

The road casualties occurred in the context of a continuing rise in London’s population, which is now officially just short of nine million. The road casualty figures have been released along with national statistics one year after the launch of Sadiq Khan and TfL’s Vision Zero drive to “eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets by 20141” and amid a Vision Zero week promoting it.

There is particular concern at the high rate of deaths and serious injuries among motorcyclists, with the number of fatalities for 2019 already reaching 17. TfL is promoting training courses for riders to enhance their confidence and skills beyond the level of compulsory basic training.

To improve road safety, TfL has embarked on a programme of redesigning 73 road junctions, with work completed on 30 of them so far with reports of good results. The transport body is also taking measures to remove the most dangerous lorries from London’s roads and to increase the safety of the bus service.

A programme of hiving off sections of roads for exclusive cyclist use continues and a consultation on reducing motor vehicle speeds on TfL controlled Central London roads has recently been held.

All TfL road safety statistics can be found here, with the 2018 figures filed under “fact sheets”

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