The Department of Infrastructure and Transport has published Road Deaths Australia 2012 Statistical Summary. The report presents annual counts and rates for fatal road crashes and fatalities Australia wide for the past 10 years including 2012. My interest is in looking at where we are at here in Western Australia in respect to cyclists and hence this post extracts that data where possible. If you are interested in data from other states or for other road user groups please refer to the original report. A similar summary of the Road Deaths Australia 2011 Statistical Summary is also available.
So what can we learn about cyclists and how we have survived on the roads in the period 2003 to 2012? Maybe a little but it is really frustrating that the Department continues to not report far more comprehensive data including participation rates, single vehicle crashes (cyclists) versus crashes involving other vehicles by type and so on. Such data would give us a better insight into where resources are required to reduce the cyclist road toll.
Overall State of Play
Overall during the past 10 years there has been a small downward trend (2.9%) in the number of cyclists killed on Australian roads. Regretfully we are not yet at zero deaths.
- During this 10 year period, our worst year on the road in Western Australia was in 2005 when five cyclists died
- Our best year was in 2009 when no cyclists were killed on WA roads
- In 2012, three cyclists died on WA Roads. Sadly no improvement on 2011
- Over the longer time frame, 1983-2012 Australia wide there has been a slight downwards trend in the number of cyclists dying on our roads, however as noted this has leveled out in the past 10 years. Increasing participation rates may explain this somewhat.
Age Group Analysis – Australia Wide Data
In considering these rates, please keep in mind but that this data is raw numbers, there is no factoring in of participation rates or other qualifiers. The following is all Australia wide data.
In the age group 0 to 16, over the period 2003 to 2012 our worst year for your children was in 2004 when 12 died riding their bicycles. Sadly two children lost their lives in 2012 whilst riding a bicycle. On a positive note, in this age group the death rate is trending down with a decline of 20.2% over the decade.
What is interestingly is that the perceived safe alternative, the motor car resulted in 41 deaths in 2011 and those two children killed on bicycles reflected 3% of all the children killed on Australian roads in 2012. Maybe time for parents to rethink what they consider as being safe?
In the 17-25 age group there has been little improvement with three young adults on average dying on our roads each year whilst riding a bicycle. This has been pretty much a consistent rate each year over the past 10 years. Sadly there was no change in 2012.
In the 26-39 age group, the average is seven deaths per year, however it is looking grime for this age group with a 133.3% increase in deaths in the 2011-2012 period. Lets hope that trend is reversed now;
The age group, 40-59 years, is not a positive one but there is a hint of improvement on the horizon. On average 12 cyclists die on our roads each year. The only positive in these numbers is that in 2012 there was a 43.8% reduction in the number of cyclists killed, but the trend continues upwards at 1.5% over the 10 years. Participation rates in this age group are reported to be on the increase which may in part explain this average, but still 12 deaths is 12 deaths to many.
Similarly to the 40-59 years age group, the 60-69 year old age group is also showing a worrying trend in an increasing number of cyclists dying on the road. The average over the 10 year period is four cyclists per year but in the last two years that has increased to seven cyclists per year. Not a good trend at all.
Finally those cyclists aged 70 and over. This age group has seen no improvement or for that matter no decline in the past 10 years, with the average sitting on four cyclists being killed a year.
Deaths by gender – Australia Wide Data
Males are heavily represented in the road deaths statistics with on average 26 male cyclists dying each year compared to five female cyclists. Regretfully in 2012 we saw a 7.1% increase in the number of male cyclists killed but thankfully a decline of 50% in the number of female riders killed on our rides.
Standardised Road Deaths Data
The report also provides standardised road deaths data based on
- Rates per 100,000 population by jurisdiction
- Rates per 100,000 population by gender and age-group
- Rates per 100 million VKT by jurisdiction
- Rates per 10,000 registration for deaths of vehicle occupants Rates per 10,000 registration for deaths of motorcyclists
None of which relates directly to cycling but it does provide some insight into the state of risk in each jurisdiction.
Western Australia does not come out looking good in this data set when looking at the 2012 data.
WA is the second in the country in rates per population. The Northern Territory is well out in front – shocking numbers for the NT of 20.44 deaths per 100,000 population compared to Western Australia at 7.61 deaths per 100,000 population.
In terms of deaths per 100 million vehicle-kilometres traveled again WA ranks second worst in the country behind the Northern Territory. WA recorded 0.71 deaths per 100 million vehicle-kilometres travelled in 2012.
Sobering read by all counts. If you wish to read the full report you can find it in my Dropbox.
Your Turn To Talk
Please do stop by the comment section below and share your thoughts on this post and the state of play for cyclists on our roads. Do you have thoughts on what can be down to improve our understanding of where/why cyclists are being killed? Please do share your thoughts with the rest of us.