Fleet News

Road Safety Week: Vulnerable road-users at greater risk

Fleet news logo

Bikers and cyclists are 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on British roads, per mile travelled, than car drivers, new research from Brake suggests.

Bike riders’ safety is being highlighted as part of national Road Safety Week (November 19-25) coordinated annually by the road safety charity, with the 2018 theme ‘Bike Smart’.

Brake is calling for drivers to be ‘Bike Smart’ by slowing down, taking care to look properly at junctions and doing the ‘Dutch reach’ to avoid car dooring.

Its analysis has highlighted the vulnerability of those on two wheels, who, in comparison with car drivers, are 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, 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 (301) of bike deaths in 2017, an average of 25 a month, took place on rural roads – the highest number of bike deaths on Britain’s rural roads for more than five years.

Worryingly, the fatal crash risk facing bikes on rural roads – which accounts for miles travelled – is also at its highest since 2010.

A survey of more than 1,000 drivers, commissioned by Brake for Road Safety Week, has found that the majority of drivers (52%) feel that bike riders are most vulnerable on urban roads.  Department for Transport statistics, however, show that rural roads pose more than three times the risk of a fatal crash for both cyclists and motorcyclists, compared with urban roads.

A survey of more than 2,000 motorcyclists by Road Safety Week sponsor Devitt Insurance Services, also found that 60% of motorcyclists surveyed felt vulnerable on urban roads, whereas only 14% said they felt vulnerable on rural roads.

The areas of the UK with the highest proportion of cyclist / motorcyclist deaths and serious injuries, in comparison with their area totals, are London (46%) and the South East (42%). Looking solely at cyclist / motorcyclist deaths, in comparison with the area totals, London (31%) and the East Midlands (27%) have the highest proportions.

Bike KSIs and deaths as a proportion of total KSIs and deaths, by area


Highest as a % of area total

Highest as a % of area total (excl. LDN)

Lowest as a % of area total

Lowest as a % of area total (excl. N.I.)


Total bikes

London (46%)

South East (42%)

N. Ireland (18%)

Scotland (28%)



London (18%)

South East (17%)

N. Ireland (6%)

Scotland (10%)



London (28%)

South East (25%)

N. Ireland (12%)

Scotland (18%)


Total bikes

London (31%)

East Midlands (27%)

N. Ireland (17%)

East of England (21%)



North East (10%)

North East (10%)

South West (3%)




London (24%)

South West (23%)

North East (12%)

North East (12%)

‘KSIs’ refers to killed and seriously injured. ‘Total bikes’ refers to both cyclists and motorcyclists.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “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’.”


Click here for safety and risk management best practice and procurement insight

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


No comments have been made yet.

Related content

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee