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 overview and a start to the new year, sadly not a good start to the year overall. The full summary report is available from my Dropbox.
Whilst my interest here is the outcomes for cyclists, there where 98 road deaths in January 2014 and for the 12 months ended January 2014, 1,198 people have died on our roads. Of those 1,198 killed, 160 were pedestrians, 47 were cyclists, 206 were motorcyclists and 785 were motor vehicle occupants. Our thoughts are with their families. All these deaths could have been avoided.
As at the end of January 2014 47 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 way. This is made worse by the fact that it is a 30.6% increase over the earlier period. 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 (-4.2% and -19.2% respectively) which is a good thing, for cyclists the trend is still upwards at 7.1% per year. 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.
The Department of Infrastructure and Transport’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics also has a database which allows some drilling down into what has taken place in the 2012 calendar year, January to December 2012.
During this period, 33 cyclists died on Australian roads with three of those cyclists being killed on Western Australian roads.
Looking at the data from an Australian wide perspective what can we learn. Well the majority of crashes, 78% involved more than one vehicle, with the dominant vehicle being motor cars and/or motorcycles. Rigid trucks were only involved in 12% of the fatalities.
In terms of speed zones, lower speed zones haven’t been too kind in the 2012 with 24% of cyclists killed on roads with a 50 km/h speed limit. The most risky speed zones are in the 80 km/h plus range with 51% of fatalities occurring on these roads.
My comment notwithstanding on lower speed zones no deaths occurred in the 30 km/h and 40 km/h speed zones.
A little bit of good news can be found in the age analysis with children faring better than adults. Adults dominant the statistics at 93% of fatalities. Of these adults fatalities 90% were men.
What the best times to ride your bike? Well September is the month to avoid, no one day seems to stand out in the statistics but it does seem that commuting times are the more vulnerable times with the 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM time slots dominating the data.
Going back to the day of the week, the day seems to play little role with the peak being Fridays at six deaths and the quiet day being Thursday with three deaths. The other days are five deaths per day with the exception of Wednesday.
One small positive in all of this is that no cyclist deaths involved in the death of the 174 pedestrians in 2012.