Addison Lee chairman wrong to blame cyclists because most crashes are caused by bad driving

The London Cycling Campaign has written to Addison Lee chairman John Griffin to make him aware of a study by the independent Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) that shows that bad driving is the major cause of crashes involving adult cyclists.

Griffin, head of London's largest minicab firm, has made it clear he thinks cyclists are chiefly at fault in collisions, calling for them to have compulsory training and insurance.

However, the 2009 TRL report, 'Collisions involving pedal cyclists on Britain's roads: establishing the causes' (download it for free), contradicts Griffin's view, finding that the most common reason for crashes involving a cyclist was that the driver "failed to look properly" (p36).

The report publishes data showing the percentage of crashes in which the police concluded the cyclist or motorist was at fault, or whether they were jointly reponsible.

Among crashes involving children, the fault is most likely to be that of the young cyclist, but for those involving adults, the fault is most likely to be entirely that of the driver.

Figures show drivers cause bicycle crashes

In crashes where a cyclist over 25 sustained minor injuries (the vast proportion of collisions), the motorist was entirely at fault in between 67% and 75% of incidents, and the cyclist solely at fault in only 16% to 22% of cases (p33).

When a cyclist over 25 sustained serious injuries, the motorist was entirely at fault in between 64% and 70% of the time, with the cyclist at fault in between 23% and 27% of incidents (p33).

In cases when a cyclist over 25 died in a crash, the motorist was deemed entirely at fault in between 48% and 66% of incidents (p33), and the cyclist in 33% to 43% (p33).

NOTE: The figures for faults in fatal and serious crashes are likely to underestimate the number attributable to drivers because the victim's ability to give evidence against the driver is strongly affected by the crash.

Overall, the report shows conclusively that, among adults, bad driving causes crashes to a much greater degree than irresponsible cycling.

Therefore, strategies for reducing cyclist deaths and injuries should prioritise stricter law enforcement against motorists and tougher penalties for those that put vulnerable road users in danger.

We're urging all Londoners to join the Big Ride on 28 April, when thousands will take to the streets in support of safer cycling.