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BMJ. Jun 11, 1994; 308(6943): 1534–1537.
PMCID: PMC2540482

Deaths of cyclists in London 1985-92: the hazards of road traffic.


OBJECTIVE--To determine the characteristics of cyclists and vehicles involved in fatal cycling accidents. DESIGN--Analysis of data routinely collected by police for each accident from January 1985 to December 1992 and held in a national master file (Stats 19) by the Department of Transport. SETTING--Greater London, which comprises inner London (12 boroughs and the City of London) and outer London (20 boroughs). SUBJECTS--178 cyclists who died (78 in inner London and 100 in outer London; age range 3-88). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Associations between characteristics of cyclists, type of vehicle involved, and place of accident. RESULTS--Motor vehicles were involved in 173 deaths. Heavy goods vehicles were involved in 75 deaths (30/100 (30%) in outer London and 45/78 (58%) in inner London); cars in 74 (54/100) (54%) in outer London and 20/78 (26%) in inner London); light goods vehicles in 12/178 (7%); and buses in 6/178 (3%). Thirty five of the people who died were children aged < or = 16. Female cyclists were especially at risk from heavy goods vehicles in inner London (22 deaths), while male cyclists were especially at risk from cars in outer London (50 deaths). DISCUSSION--Cyclists who died in urban areas are more likely to be adults than children. In inner London, in relation to their traffic volume, heavy goods vehicles are estimated to cause 30 times as many cyclists' deaths as cars and five times as many as buses. Until the factors leading to this excess risk are understood, a ban on heavy goods vehicles in urban areas should be considered.

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Selected References

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