Sunday 2 April 2017 19.12 BST
Your correspondents (Letters, 25 March and 28 March) both cite misleading figures for cyclist casualties. While the Department for Transport’s latest confirmed statistics (for 2015) do add up to 3,339 killed and seriously injured cyclists, the fatalities within that figure were 100. The DfT definition of “serious injuries” covers everything from life-changing injuries to fractured wrists, but we do not know the relative proportions.
Linking a figure in the thousands with the expression “killed and injured” implies that thousands of pedal cyclists are killed and maimed annually. A hundred fatalities is 100 too many, but that total is a 10% decrease on the previous five-year average and is a quarter of pedestrian and a third of motorcycle fatality numbers for the same period.
Of course, this is dreadful for the families involved, no one would want to detract from their distress, but neither should it prevent an objective examination of the complex picture revealed in the statistics.
While cycle usage is increasing, all the casualty figures show a decrease on the average for 2010-14. Further, the DfT statistics include a figure for injurious accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, including a small number of fatalities.
The real threat felt by pedestrians and reported anecdotally of cycles powering up silently from nowhere on pavements and crossings, resulting in close shaves and injuries, should not be dismissed either.
Dr Ilona Jesnick