Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Serious and fatal cycle collisions in Hackney 2009-2014

Last week I came across this freedom of information request made to Hackney council requesting a full list of all cycle related collisions within Hackney. The council in response provided a document containing all reported 1297 cycle collisions for the five year period up to June 2014, with locations, sex and age of the persons involved, a brief description of the cause and whether the injury was slight, serious or fatal. I have taken all of the 164 collisions that resulted in serious injury to the person cycling and the four cycle fatalities within the borough over this five-year period and mapped them here:

Click here for an updated post on ten years of collisions

I've included the vehicles involved, age and sex of the person injured or killed and a brief description of the collision itself (please note that these descriptions are lifted directly off the council document and not my own words). Please do take a minute or two to have a look at the map to see where the collisions have occurred in the borough. Some of the accident statistics are extremely interesting:

65% of all serious and fatal collisions were reported on A roads, with the other 35% on B roads and unclassified roads. This backs up the councils own admission in their recent cycling plan:

the majority of serious [cycling] accidents occur on our busier roads with high traffic flows and often multiple bus routes

A breakdown of those main roads show that a staggering  27% of all of the 164 collisions that caused serious injury occurred on one road in particular; the A10. This road was also singled out by the council in the cycling plan as the road with a high number of cycle collisions and they vowed to "continue to lobby TfL and work with them to resolve the cyclist accident problems along the A10 corridor in Hackney." Except of course TFL wanted to build a cycle superhighway down the A10 but Hackney council blocked it preferring instead to plan for an indirect "super quietway" on minor roads alongside the A10. They obviously feel the way to deal with the high number of casualties on this road is to remove people cycling from the A10 leaving it reserved for buses, private motor vehicles and the small minority of vehicular cyclists who are still happy to use it. However because the A10 slices through the very centre of Tottenham, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington, Dalston, Haggerston, Shoreditch and the City within a few short miles people cycling will continue to use it as not only is it direct but also a place where people live, work and play. As the council pointed out in the cycling plan:

It is inevitable that cyclists will continue to use our busy high streets and strategic roads that carry high volumes of vehicular traffic because often they are the most direct and quickest routes.

The A10 was also the location of one of the four fatalities within the borough in this period. Not included in this map is the four additional cycle fatalities that occurred on the A10 in Hackney between 2006-2010.

Statistics on the age and sex of the people involved in these collisions is also interesting. 73% of the people suffering serious injuries were male and 27% female. 45% were aged 18-29, 28% were aged 30-39, 15% 40-49 and 5% were in their fifties. Only two were aged over 60, the eldest being a 71 year old male and only three were aged under 18, the youngest a 7 year old boy hit by a left turning tipper truck. This backs up the statistics that most people cycling in Hackney are relatively young and mostly male. Of the four fatalities there was an even split, two male and two female with all four aged in their 20's.

As for other vehicles involved in these collisions I was surprised that 75% of all serious injuries involved a cycle and a car. I've always been more careful when cycling in the vicinity of lorries and buses in the borough but whilst it is true that you're more likely to be killed cycling by a lorry or bus, a car is much more likely to cause you serious injury. Next on the list was buses involved in 5% of all serious injuries followed by Vans, lorries, taxi's, people falling from cycles without colliding with any other vehicles, and motorbikes.

Recently a group of us who live and cycle in Hackney formed a new group, Hackney people on bikes. We've compiled a letter to the Hackney Cycling Campaign and representatives from our group will be attending their meeting this Wednesday to discuss our concerns.

We think that whilst Hackney has had some success in catering for people cycling on some of the minor roads in the borough we want main roads within Hackney, the roads that cause the most serious accidents to people cycling, to gain Dutch style protected cycle tracks. We believe that whilst Hackney does have the highest mode share in London for people cycling (approximately 6%) we should be looking at other counties, and the Netherlands in particular, to copy their measures that have resulted in much higher rates of people cycling and much lower accident rates. We believe that people cycling in Hackney should not have to share space with buses and that fast one-way systems should only be returned to two way if high quality cycle tracks are also built. We want the most dangerous road in Hackney, the A10, to have a cycle superhighway installed on it, rather than only catering for people cycling if they use indirect back routes. We believe that installing cycle tracks on the A10 is the only way to stop the killing of people who choose to use it to cycle on and it needs cycle tracks due to the high volume of motor traffic on it, as voted for by LCC members in the 2013 AGM.

We're also concerned by some recent publications from the Hackney cycling campaign, including describing the highly dangerous A10 as "ideal" and the very safe cycle tracks on Waterden road in the Olympic Park as "poor quality cycle provision" that has "no place in Hackney". We want Hackney to be a place where people can cycle no matter what their age or sex and we acknowledge that whilst reducing the impact of motor traffic on minor roads in the borough goes some way to achieving this the separation of people cycling and motor vehicles on the main roads within the borough is needed to make cycling in Hackney truly safe and inviting for all.


  1. It is pleasing to note that there were no recorded casualties at all on the section of Kingsland High st described as 'ideal' by Hackney Cyclists

    1. Oh, there were plenty of recorded casualties on the section of the A10 described as 'ideal' in the HCC vision documents. However I did not have the time to map all 1297 cycle collisions that caused injuries in the five year period, choosing instead to focus just on the serious and fatal collisions. You'll note there were also no serious injuries where the A12 meets Wick road in a motorway standard 40mph speed limit slip road or on the racetrack that is the northern half of the Victoria Park one way system so these must be ideal road layouts too, right?

    2. exactly.there is no great correlation between collision data and perceived danger. Collision data is actually useful to recognise desire lines: a road with a high number of collisions shows that it is essential in the grid as people use it even though they know it is dangerous.this means that the local authority as to recognise the desire of people to cycle there and provide safe facilities.

  2. Surely these statistics are meaningless unless compared to the overall cycling figures for Hackney.
    If 33% of all KSIs happen on the A10, but it also carries 33% of all cycle traffic, then it would be no more dangerous than other roads.

    1. If that were true (and I really don't think it is) then the point absolutely stands that the A10 should be the top priority for created safe cycle infrastructure.