Section 4.3 Australian cycling safety 2015

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Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development report states: “cyclists are considered vulnerable road users, whereby an error that might trigger a minor incident for a vehicle occupant could have major consequences for a cyclist.”[1] The data would suggest that cycling is getting more dangerous with hospitalisations growing 4% per annum nationally.

[1] Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Australian cycling safety: casualties, crash types and participation levels, Australian Government, 2015,

Quick facts from the report (national figures).

  • Cyclists comprise 3 per cent of all road fatalities and 15 per cent of all road hospitalisations.
  • Children (0–16 years) have the highest population-standardised rate of cycling hospitalisations.
  • Males are approximately four times more likely than females to be hospitalised following a cycling crash.
  • Around 85 per cent of reported cyclist casualty crashes involve another vehicle (mostly a light vehicle).
  • Around 25 per cent of cyclist casualty crashes occur when two vehicles (including the cyclist) approach an intersection from perpendicular directions or from opposing directions. Other frequent crash types are side-swipes (14 per cent), collisions with vehicle doors (7 per cent).
  • Cyclist casualty crashes are heavily skewed towards the lower posted speed zones (50km/h and 60 km/h).

Traffic collisions ACT

Fatalities: cyclists as a proportion of all traffic fatalities, over time

5-year periodACT
2005-20092.5%
2010-20147.4%
Table 4-2 Australian cycling safety 2015, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Government page 4

Hospitalisations: cyclists hospitalised in traffic crashes

YearACT
2005-06101
2006-07102
2007-08119
2008-09175
Table 4-3 Australian cycling safety 2015, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Government page 4

Reported injuries: cyclists injured in traffic crashes per 100,000 population

YearCanberra
200817,8
200916,9
201020,5
201121,5
201229,3
201320,7
Table 4-4 Australian cycling safety 2015, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Government page 6

Casualty crash details

Cyclists’ casualties are most likely on local roads with speed limits of 50 km/h or less. The reasons are twofold. First, at lower speeds, the cyclist is most likely to survive. Second, low-speed streets are most likely to be used by a cyclist. Cyclists keep away from busier roads. Figure 4-3 and 4-4 show national figures.

Figure 4-3 Australian cycling safety 2015, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Government page 8
Figure 4-4 Australian cycling safety 2015, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Government page 8

Analysis of crash types

Being cut off by a car while crossing an intersection is a common crash type for both 0-16 years (13%) and 25-60 years (12%). Children are also particularly vulnerable riding onto the road (“manoeuvring”) from the footway (27%) or driveway (13%).

Children are poor at judging when it is safe to “step” onto the road. They make mistakes and underestimate how easy it is for the driver to be unaware of them. Adults are much more aware of this and such collisions are much less common for adults of ages 25-60 years (footway 4% or driveway 5%). At intersections, we negotiate with drivers by making eye contact and judging whether we will be cut off.[1]

[1] Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, Australian cycling safety: casualties, crash types and participation levels, Australian Government, 2015,

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