The Department of Infrastructure and Transport has published Road Deaths Australia 2011 Statistical Summary. The report presents annual counts and rates for fatal road crashes and fatalities Australia wide for the past 10 years including 2011. 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.
So what can we learn about cyclists and how we have survived on the roads in the period 2002 to 2011? Maybe a little but it is really frustrating that the Department does 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 slight upwards trend (0.1%) 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 2002 when six cyclists died;
- Our best year was in 2009 when no cyclists where killed on WA roads;
- In 2011, three cyclists died.
- Over the longer time frame, 1982-2011 Australia wide there has been a slight downwards trend in the number of cyclists dying on our roads, however as noted this has levelled out in the past 10 years. Increasing participation rates may explain this somewhat but.
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 2002 to 2011 our worst year for your children was in 2004 when 12 died riding their bicycles. Sadly two children lost their lives in 2011 whilst riding a bicycle. What is interestingly is that the perceived safe alternative, the motor car resulted in 67 deaths in 2011 and those two children killed on bicycles reflected 2% of all the children killed on Australian roads in 2011. 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;
- In the 26-39 age group, the average is seven deaths per year, however there is glimmer of hope with this age group with a 57% reduction in deaths in 2010-2011. Lets hope that trend continues;
- The age group, 40-59 years, is not a positive one. On average 12 cyclists die on our roads each year and with the exception of 2008 this appears to be a consistent if not possibly increasing number. 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 31 male cyclists dying each year compared to five female cyclists. One small positive is that in 2011 we saw a small drop in the number of males killed but there is really no evidence of a downwards trend.
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 for example 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.