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In March 2014, Cycle Law Scotland commissioned Malcolm J Wardlaw to analysis 151 of our cycling injury cases in the 2 years up to August 2013. 

The report presents a study of cyclist casualties. The data was analysed in relation to:-

  • Sex and age group of cyclist.
  • Georgraphic location of incident.
  • Severity of injury.
  • Helmet use.
  • Road class and speed limit.
  • Month and time of incident.
  • Weather.
  • Visibility of cyclist.
  • Unreported incidents.
  • Where the incident happened.
  • What happened in the incident.

In each case, a short commentary highlights any interesting implications of the findings. It should be noted that this is not a random sample, but a self-selected group amounting to about 5% of the reported cycling casualties in Scotland in the period. As such, it is not necessarily representative of all cyclist casualties.

However, a number of comparisons have been drawn with public data. These show that the dataset is representative in most respects. The main exceptions were that helmet use in our dataset was higher than is typical, and our dataset contained no incidents in which the cyclist was obviously at fault or partly at fault.

Children are under-represented in our data, whereas the 18-30 age group is somewhat over-represented. A number of interesting observations may be drawn from both our data and public data: 

  • Most cyclist casualties in collisions are due to errors by drivers;
  • The main risk of collision is at junctions, at least on urban roads;
  • At junctions, vehicles turning off the road of travel are just as much risk as those pulling out from side roads;
  • The PM Peak period appears to incur twice the risk to cyclists as the AM Peak period;
  • Beneath the reported cyclist casualties is a significant extent of unreported casualties, many of which involve non-trivial injuries such as fractures and severe bruising. This number may be similar to reported “slight” casualties. This may also be true – and on a greater scale – for pedestrians. 
  • Cyclists and pedestrians inflict negligible harm on each other.

The full report can be downloaded here.


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