27 April 2009

Death, darkness and a cycling queen

Three snippets gleaned from this morning's Googling.

First the bad news. In the report that came out the other day (PDF) recommending borough-wide 20mph zones in London (hooray) there were some disturbing figures on road casualties in Appendix 2. Road casualties as a whole in London have been declining, but those for cyclists have been going up. There were 340 dead or seriously injured in 2004, rising to 461 in 2007. The report speculates that it may be due to the increase in cycling (which they put at 6 per cent between those dates), which doesn't quite square with the general wisdom and research, that more cyclists means fewer accidents. We hope this is a blip.

Second, a dim review in The Stage for a play in Birmingham, 'Home of the Wriggler'. It is lit by bicycle-powered generators. As the stagehands powering the bikes get tired towards the end of the performance, the set gets gloomier and gloomier.

Third, to cheer us all up, a picture of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands riding a bike on holiday in 1967, looking rather like my nan. She abdicated in 1980 and her daughter Beatrix took over. Queen Bea is also a cyclist, apparently, though there don't seem to be any pics of her doing so online. We don't approve of hereditary monarchies, but ones that get around by bike will be given cushy desk jobs when the revolution comes. This was the mistake the Romanovs made.


  1. The latest figures I read suggested a doubling (99% increase) in the number of cylists in London since 2000. This would mean steady growth of around 8% pa. If these figures are correct, a 6% increase from 2004-07 is a gross underestimate - more likely would be 25% over three years.

    In which case, the increase in KSIs (killed and seriously injured) - though still worrying - is rather more in line with the steady growth in cycling.


  2. I'll be interested to see the figures for 2007-09 when they're available. My feeling is that there has been a large rise in cycling in that particular period, perhaps contributing most of that much-quoted doubling of cycle journeys in the last ten years. I'm hoping that casualty figures will show a reduction, or at least not a rise, in that period, because I'm always going on to people about how more cyclists on the streets actually means fewer accidents, due to motorists taking more care.

  3. In the daily mail it suggests that 13 cyclists died in London in 2008:

    Fingers crossed that number will start to decrease each year.