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Divided Streets, pedestrian / cyclist conflict

The Times reports cyclists are almost as likely to injure pedestrians as cars are.

When serious injuries are measured as a proportion of distance travelled, cyclists injured 21 pedestrians per billion km travelled in 2012 compared with 24 pedestrians injured by drivers.

Ok, we could argue about whether distance is the best measure, but we will accept the numbers

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, a charity dedicated to pedestrians, said: “What is clear is that pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. In 2012 there was a 6 per cent increase in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions.

‘Most vulnerable road users’ that’s rather open to interpretation though the figures say there’s not much in it,  41 pedestrian fatalities per billion miles compared to 35 for cyclists. I’ve never seen figures for the number of cyclists KSI’d by pedestrians though they surely happen. If cyclist and pedestrian  collide directly both might be injured, different types of injuries of course. If pedestrian and cyclist suffer a glancing blow, very different levels of injuries could occur which might depend on their relative health and mass. Then there will be a few cyclists who come a cropper avoiding pedestrians with no contact between the two parties.

Anyone who cycles often enough will have pedestrians wandering across the road in front of them, I believe in the hierarchy that puts pedestrians at the top of the tree, but if they step in to the road without looking that would be a rare occasion where I would put more of the blame on the pedestrian.

Despite all this it remains that drivers pose the biggest threat and Living Streets would do well to remember that and avoid these arguments that work in favour of the motoring lobby by divide and conquer. Living Streets should remember that if you want to save more pedestrian lives, getting more drivers out of cars and on to bikes would be a good start.

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2 thoughts on “Divided Streets, pedestrian / cyclist conflict

  1. I believe that if it turned out that cycling were far more dangerous than walking, the message would be for people to not walk. There would be the Motoring Trinity, “stop sign running”, yellow vests, and helmets. There would be the anger that so many cyclists get themselves killed.

    When pedestrians get hurt they are “vulnerable road users.”

    Since more people, in general, get hurt in automobiles are not motorists also, “vulnerable road users”?

    We should use the same language for everyone.

    As for pedestrians wandering in front of us, I’m so torn on this. I don’t want to live in our current nightmare where I can’t even walk around w/o having the keep awareness of a tiger infested jungle. On the other hand, when I bicycle, I get people walking in front of me, without looking, every day. On the other, other hand, I make it a habit to yield w/o complaining and to ride slow enough so I can stop safely at any time. I do think that it’s on me if I hit someone no matter how stupid they are.

    I’d never blame a pedestrian or cyclist for their own death, but I do doubt some people’s stories about always getting buzzed by cyclists when I see pedestrians do stupid things on a daily basis.

  2. Giant headline: “Motorists and cyclists create army of walking wounded”

    Tiny retraction: “Research by the City of Westminster Council last year found that, in collisions between pedestrians and cyclists, 60 per cent of the crashes were caused by the pedestrian. ”

    Anti-cycling bias again.

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