‘Selective’ cycle stats

Sir – Oh dear, I had hoped that my letter of May 19 would help to shift the debate away from the unhelpful pedestrian versus cyclist confrontation and on to the really important question of saving lives on our roads, but Hugh Jaeger (Letters, May 26) has an agenda which he will not easily abandon.

We should be grateful that he has been able to do some research but uneasy that he quotes it selectively. For example, he says that there are 200 collisions between cyclists and pedestrians each year on average in the UK and wants us to believe that the cyclist was always at fault, but doesn’t tell us how many of these collisions took place on the pavement or on the road, nor how many were caused by cyclists and how many by pedestrians.

He says that three pedestrian deaths in the last five years were caused by stupid cyclists, but neglects to tell us how many cyclists were killed on the road in the same period by stupid pedestrians – almost certainly about the same number i.e. very few.

It is not clear how the proposed new legislation would lead to a reduction in deaths of this kind.

Let’s give Mr Jaeger his new law and even up the ante by introducing life imprisonment for reckless cycling (or walking?) leading to death. Can we believe there would then be fewer than three deaths of this kind in five years in the whole country?

David Dixon, Oxford

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:21pm Thu 2 Jun 11

Hugh Jaeger says...

David Dixon's latest letter is as false as his previous one published on 19 May.
`
David continues the falsehood that those like myself who support the Dangerous and Reckless Cycling Bill are "tribal" anti-cyclists. The truth is that like he I have been as cyclist for 40 years, but I support greater road safety regardless of which transport mode people freely choose.
`
Neither of David's letters provided any actual casualty data. Previously Cyclox Chairman James Styring has quoted only the fatalities for one selected, atypical 12-month period. Rolling averages for periods of at least five years are needed for well-informed safety decisions. It seems that Oxford's local cycling campaign, not I, was selecting data in order to mislead the debate.
`
I gave data for a seven-year period for pedestrian injuries and a 10-year period for fatalities. The injury data are from hospital emergency admissions, which road safety professionals tell me are more indicative than STATS19 numbers. David's claim that my honest use of good data is "selective" is plainly false.
`
David claims that I " us to believe that the cyclist was always at fault". Only in David's imagination! I used total casualty data because they are readily available. I have asked for data for those casualties that were the cyclists' fault, and if I get them I will quote them.
`
David blames me for not providing data for how many cyclist casualties were the fault of pedestrians. Again, where are the data? David seems not to have them, but that doesn't stop him for supposing that I have chosen to keep the figures out of the debate.
`
Instead he supposes that it is "almost certainly about the same number, i.e. very few". At least David's method is clear: if he doesn't have a fact, he doesn't look it up - he guesses and makes it up!
`
My letter gave three examples of pedestrians killed by reckless cyclists in the last five years. David falsely implies that these were the ONLY three pedestrians killed by cyclists in that period. That is not at all what I said.
`
David is correct in one particular: I do have an agenda that I will not easliy abandon. It is to make all modes of transport safer. To help this I obtain and provide as many representative and relevant facts as I can, and I do not let opponents use mere anecdotes or selected, unrepresentative data to mislead the debate.
`
My agenda is also for equality. Only when the law is applied sufficiently and effectively to each mode of road transport, and as high a proportion of our fellow-cyclists abide by traffic law as much as other modes of road traffic already do, will cyclists find themselves as respected and as safe as those other modes of road user.
David Dixon's latest letter is as false as his previous one published on 19 May. ` David continues the falsehood that those like myself who support the Dangerous and Reckless Cycling Bill are "tribal" anti-cyclists. The truth is that like he I have been as cyclist for 40 years, but I support greater road safety regardless of which transport mode people freely choose. ` Neither of David's letters provided any actual casualty data. Previously Cyclox Chairman James Styring has quoted only the fatalities for one selected, atypical 12-month period. Rolling averages for periods of at least five years are needed for well-informed safety decisions. It seems that Oxford's local cycling campaign, not I, was selecting data in order to mislead the debate. ` I gave data for a seven-year period for pedestrian injuries and a 10-year period for fatalities. The injury data are from hospital emergency admissions, which road safety professionals tell me are more indicative than STATS19 numbers. David's claim that my honest use of good data is "selective" is plainly false. ` David claims that I "[want] us to believe that the cyclist was always at fault". Only in David's imagination! I used total casualty data because they are readily available. I have asked for data for those casualties that were the cyclists' fault, and if I get them I will quote them. ` David blames me for not providing data for how many cyclist casualties were the fault of pedestrians. Again, where are the data? David seems not to have them, but that doesn't stop him for supposing that I have chosen to keep the figures out of the debate. ` Instead he supposes that it is "almost certainly about the same number, i.e. very few". At least David's method is clear: if he doesn't have a fact, he doesn't look it up - he guesses and makes it up! ` My letter gave three examples of pedestrians killed by reckless cyclists in the last five years. David falsely implies that these were the ONLY three pedestrians killed by cyclists in that period. That is not at all what I said. ` David is correct in one particular: I do have an agenda that I will not easliy abandon. It is to make all modes of transport safer. To help this I obtain and provide as many representative and relevant facts as I can, and I do not let opponents use mere anecdotes or selected, unrepresentative data to mislead the debate. ` My agenda is also for equality. Only when the law is applied sufficiently and effectively to each mode of road transport, and as high a proportion of our fellow-cyclists abide by traffic law as much as other modes of road traffic already do, will cyclists find themselves as respected and as safe as those other modes of road user. Hugh Jaeger

7:45pm Sun 5 Jun 11

Sophia says...

Of all the problems to get worked up about - longher sentences for cyclists killing pedestrians. Yeah, its up there with the 10, 000 most pressing human problems, just behind mobile disabled toilets for lesbian eskimos. Just thank God we already sorted cancer, poverty, hunger, war, climate change, overpopulation and all those other boring things we used to think so important!

Thanks, I've added this to my forthcoming book , "Top 100 Oxford single issue obsessives", all profits to Mencap
Of all the problems to get worked up about - longher sentences for cyclists killing pedestrians. Yeah, its up there with the 10, 000 most pressing human problems, just behind mobile disabled toilets for lesbian eskimos. Just thank God we already sorted cancer, poverty, hunger, war, climate change, overpopulation and all those other boring things we used to think so important! Thanks, I've added this to my forthcoming book , "Top 100 Oxford single issue obsessives", all profits to Mencap Sophia

5:07pm Sat 11 Jun 11

Hugh Jaeger says...

Nothing in Sophia's sarcastic rant disproves the need to bring the penalty for killer cyclists closer to that for killer motorists.
`
I invite Sophia to state plainly who she thinks is a "single-issue obsessive" and what the relevance of her reference to Mencap is. Her denigration of a type of mental health problem is a throwback to a more ignorant century, and a despicable and shameful lowering of what is supposed to be a debate about road casualty reduction.
`
Reckless cyclists are a menace to pedestrians and other road users but they probably endanger themselves most of all. Serious injuries to cyclists in Oxford have risen 40% since 2003.
`
Changes in traffic numbers are not the cause. Most cycling is in inner Oxford, where cycle traffic increased only slightly and motor traffic slightly fell. Across Oxford in the same period, serious injuries fell almost 40% among motorists and rose only 6% among pedestrians.
`
Cycle casualties in the rest of our county have not risen. It's a purely urban deterioration. Oxford's rapid increase in cycle casualties is hard to explain unless one recognises that more Oxford cyclists are riding dangerously.
`
For years I have campaigned to reduce road casualties. I also campaign for railways, trams, buses, motorcycles and waterways as safer, less congesting, less polluting alternatives to private cars. I campaign for environmental objectives beyond transport and I campaign for human rights. I am and always have been a multi-issue campaigner.
`
All I have written are facts. Sophia's rude rant is mere smear, some of it gratuitously personal against me and against mentally ill people, instead of addressing the debate.
`
I hope Sophia will make contributions to the debate that respect both the arguments and the people with whom she disagrees.
Nothing in Sophia's sarcastic rant disproves the need to bring the penalty for killer cyclists closer to that for killer motorists. ` I invite Sophia to state plainly who she thinks is a "single-issue obsessive" and what the relevance of her reference to Mencap is. Her denigration of a type of mental health problem is a throwback to a more ignorant century, and a despicable and shameful lowering of what is supposed to be a debate about road casualty reduction. ` Reckless cyclists are a menace to pedestrians and other road users but they probably endanger themselves most of all. Serious injuries to cyclists in Oxford have risen 40% since 2003. ` Changes in traffic numbers are not the cause. Most cycling is in inner Oxford, where cycle traffic increased only slightly and motor traffic slightly fell. Across Oxford in the same period, serious injuries fell almost 40% among motorists and rose only 6% among pedestrians. ` Cycle casualties in the rest of our county have not risen. It's a purely urban deterioration. Oxford's rapid increase in cycle casualties is hard to explain unless one recognises that more Oxford cyclists are riding dangerously. ` For years I have campaigned to reduce road casualties. I also campaign for railways, trams, buses, motorcycles and waterways as safer, less congesting, less polluting alternatives to private cars. I campaign for environmental objectives beyond transport and I campaign for human rights. I am and always have been a multi-issue campaigner. ` All I have written are facts. Sophia's rude rant is mere smear, some of it gratuitously personal against me and against mentally ill people, instead of addressing the debate. ` I hope Sophia will make contributions to the debate that respect both the arguments and the people with whom she disagrees. Hugh Jaeger

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree