Cycling Safety

The national view

In this article we'll be looking at incidences of cycling fatalities on Australia's roads and using data for the period 1989-2018 from the Australian Road Deaths Database, which is published by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.  

Over the last 30 years there have been 49,730 people killed on Australian roads. That's 1,658 people every year or nearly 32 every week. 

Cyclist deaths account for 2.64% of this number. While this may sound like a comparatively small amount, it means 1,315 cyclists have died on our roads over this period, equating to 44 lives lost every year.

The highest number of cycling fatalities occur in the most populated states of New South Wales, Victoria & Queensland, which is what you would expect but doesn't tell the full story of which locations are statistically the most dangerous for cyclists on the road. In fact it's the less populated states and territories that present more risk to road cyclists, with proportionally higher numbers of cycling fatalities per population. Statistically speaking, cyclists are most at risk in the Northern Territories, South Australia and Tasmania, as the chart below highlights. 

It can be easy for cyclists to get frustrated when on the road. From other road users passing too close, to close shaves with car doors, to that driver who 'just didn't see you', the reality of sharing roads with other traffic is that sometimes cyclists are put in harms way. And while incidents like these can leave cyclists with steam coming out of their ears, there are plenty of other times when the fault lies with the rider.

When you start reading the statistics of cycling fatalities on the road, especially when you see the young ages of some of those losing their lives, feelings of frustration quickly turn to dismay. We all share the roads and we all have a shared responsibility towards making them as safe as possible for everyone. So as a group let's do the simple things right, like wearing helmets, giving a bit of space and respect to each other, and collectively obeying the laws of the road. Because surely anything we can do that minimises the chances of more people joining this group of statistics is worthwhile. 

For those who could do with a refresher, The Amy Gillett Foundation and the Global Cycling Network and have prepared some useful video guides to help people remember some basic safety principles.

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