Analysis of police collision files for pedal cyclist fatalities in London, 2001 - 2006

Transport Research Laboratory
Publication date: 
October 2009

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The numbers of pedal cyclist fatalities in London have varied over the years from 1986 to 2006; averaging 18 per year, the maximum was 33 in 1989 and the minimum was 8 in 2004. There has been a substantial increase in cycling, particularly in central and inner London. The London Travel Report 2007 (Transport for London, 2007a) reported that in 2006 the cycle flows on London’s major roads were almost twice as many as in 2000. During the period January 2001 to December 2006 a total of 108 pedal cyclists were killed in London.

This study has described the in-depth characteristics of 92 fatal pedal cyclist collisions in London between 2001 and 2006. These small numbers are not statistically reliable; however, this study provides very detailed qualitative data. An almost complete set of police collision investigation files were located (85%) which has reduced the potential for selection bias to distort analysis and findings.

The fatal files used for this research are a rich source of information. They contain much greater detail about the collisions, vehicles and casualties than are routinely available from other sources such as collision and casualty STATS19 data.

A content analysis of the collision files was carried out using the systematic approach to looking at collisions and the factors involved that contributed to the event, using Haddon’s Matrix. This illustrates the interaction of the human, the vehicle and the environment during the three phases of the collision; pre event, event and post event. The research methods were peer reviewed by the University of Nottingham.

The following research questions were considered:

  • Primary prevention: What factors contributed to the collision? How could the collision have been prevented?

  • Secondary and tertiary prevention: What factors contributed to the fatal injury? How could the fatal injury have been prevented?