The Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics publishes monthly, a summary report on road deaths in Australia. This issue is dated January 2014 and hence provides a monthly and a start to the new year. The full summary report is available from my Dropbox. Whilst my interest here is the outcomes for cyclists, there were 92 road deaths in February 2014 (down six on the previous month) and for the 12 months ended February 2014, 1,188 people have died on our roads. Of those 1,188, 156 were pedestrians, 50 were cyclists (an increase of three over the previous 12 months), 208 were motorcyclists and 767 were motor vehicle occupants. Our thoughts are with their families. All these deaths could have been avoided.
As at the end of February 2014 50 cyclists had died on Australian roads in the past 12 months, a shocking outcome of our failure to use our public roads in a responsible manner. This is made worse by the fact that it is a 38.9% increase over previous period: it just keeps getting worse. What sort of shocking death rate is it going to take for the Western Australian Minister of Police to take action? While the average trend change for drivers and passengers continues to decline (-10.6% and -14.92% respectively) which is a good thing, for cyclists the trend is still upwards at 8.7% per year and rising. We just cannot seem to get it right. Why do we keep killing vulnerable road users? Blaming cyclist is not the answer either – red light jumping is not killing cyclists; demanding cyclists earn respect is no justification for not ensuring their use of the road is accept. It is not okay to kill and injury others, period.
Our National Road Safety Strategy is continuing to fail our most vulnerable road users, people, yes cyclists are people, people who choose to ride bicycles.