Following the launch of the Times’ Cities Fit For Cycling campaign it seemed to me that the statistics available on cyclist fatalities are quite thin on the ground and of little practical use. Being of a nature twisted enough to enjoy dabbling with databases I decided to try and change this by pulling together all the data I could find and compiling one database available to cycling campaigners. By analysing why things go wrong we can hopefully concentrate efforts effectively. Besides which I hope it is a fitting tribute to all the cyclists who have died on our roads.
The interactive maps that have so far been available were too broad in the sense that they either include all road user fatalities or at least pedestrians. They are also too narrow in so far as the information is little more than a date and location. My intention has always been to flesh out the raw data with more narrative information, so where available you will find photos and links to news articles, this is almost exclusively for data since 2005. The data itself is much greater than can be presented in the map and runs to about 50 items of information per fatality.
The first data I found came from Two Wheels and Beyond to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, this provided a great starting point when there seemed to be very little to go on. I added to this initially by trawling through Google and also adding the names of the 2012 victims as they occurred. The list Kaya Burgess maintained at The Times helped with this. Through my Google searches I came across other small data sets Stop Smidsy, Ghost Bikes, London Remembers, Olaf Storbeck’s list this got me up to about 500 victims. Bearing in mind I was trying to find every victim since 2000 I still had a long way to go. This alone made me realise how awful things were, I had a huge list of names and links and it accounted for less than 40% of those who have died.
One day in late 2012 I hit the jackpot, http://data.gov.uk/dataset/road-accidents-safety-data, I had been searching government data before but had somehow managed to miss this for months. I whittled down these rather large spreadsheets to just the cycling fatalities and cross referenced what I had already found. Suddenly I was up at 1,080 victims. 2012 ended, another 122 deaths. If that were the average per year then my list should have a total of 1586 names. It’s huge already, how can there be another 500 to find? Another trawl through Google to try and put names and details to all the anonymous government data.
Eventually I found the STATS19 data and suddenly I had every fatality going back as far as 1985, over 5,000 cyclists killed. Yet I have still only been able to identify about 750 of them. I have very little chance of discovering who most of the fatalities were and how they happened simply because they occurred before the dawn of the internet. If, however, you can help fill in some blanks please do contact me and I will update the database.
This is version 0.1 of the data, there is a long way to go and I have several ideas for improving it already. When it is as close to complete as I can make it I will make the full data available to anyone who can make use of it.Accuracy and appearance – I have endeavored to be as accurate as possible, but can only be as accurate as my source data, if you find errors please let me know and I will attempt to rectify them. I have spent much more time on data gathering than making it look pretty, most photos are missing, text might run off screen, sorry about these issues, I will get around to fixing them at some point in the future.
Accuracy – I have endeavored to be as accurate as possible but can only be as good as the source data, if you find any errors please let me know.
Appearance – there are some layout problems, particularly with the info window, I know about this and will get around to fixing it soon.