Making Bristol better for cycling

Are the Roads Getting Less Dangerous for Cyclists? Trends 2003-2015

Important statistics have been published recently concerning road traffic incidents, and the resulting death and injuries, occurring in Bristol during 2015 (Bristol Emergency Hospital Admissions 2003 – 2015)

Key facts for 2015:

  • 71 pedestrians admitted to hospital following road traffic incidents, lowest number for 5 years and below the long-term yearly average of 78. The reduction was due to fewer incidents involving all vehicles except cars and vans.
  • 69 of those pedestrians were injured by motorised vehicles, 2 due to collisions with cyclists.
  • 38 cyclists admitted to hospital, again the lowest for some years but close to the long-term average (39).
  • 0 of these 38 admissions were recorded as being the result of collisions with buses or HGVs. 4 were the result of collisions with other cyclists – reinforcing the message at Bristol Cycling’s AGM that cyclists need to do more to look out for each other.
  • 102 the number of cyclists injured in collisions with fixed or stationary objects or injured in “non-collision transport accidents” e.g. as a result of ice or wind.

Council Analysis of Police Collision Reports 2015

These are considered less reliable than hospital stat.s and known to seriously under-record the real number of incidents but, unlike the former, they do record incidents where the casualty suffered a more minor injury not requiring a stay in hospital.

Key facts:

  • 206 incidents involving death or injury to pedestrians, 2 of them fatal. The long-term yearly average of all such incidents is 246.
  • 250 incidents involving injury to cyclists, similar to the long-term average.

What is very interesting is the work done by the Council’s Strategic Transport Department to compare cycling collision incidents with the distance cycled by Bristol residents [3].

Key facts:

  • 68 million km to 134 million km, the estimated increase in the distance cycled each year by residents between 2006 and 2015.
  • 3.5 to under 2.0, the number of collisions involving injury, you can expect to be involved in per 1 million km cycled.

Sounds like good news, but let’s not forget that a too many people are still killed or injured on Bristol’s roads every year and we’ve still a long way to go before we can claim to have safe roads.

1. Bristol Emergency Admissions to hospital due to transport related accidents 2003 – 2015
2. Interpreted Listing of Police Road Traffic Incident Reports 2015 – BCC Strategic Transport
3. Spreadsheet showing cycle distances and collisions per million km cycled – BCC Strategic Transport 2016


  1. Philip Jardine

    I see the spreadsheet has an epidemiologists name on it. Was she responsible for the analysis above? There might be lots of reasons why admission rates have fallen other than reduced accidents: maybe its harder to get admitted to hospital? Hospital ICD codes are notoriously unreliable. My n of 1 experience is that cycling around Bristol is becoming more risky.

  2. Aileen Brown

    Accurate reporting takes up valuable resourses which are stretched to breaking point in both the NHS & Road Traffic police. What do we need to do to have Avon & Somerset adopt the proactive measures adopted by West Midlands in putting plain cloths police on bikes to pull over drivers who pass too close or turn across cyclist’s paths without any regard for the consequences? It would cost little in resource & could save lives (which cost significant police resource to investigate as well as devastating the lives of many.)

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