In three of the past four recessions, cyclist death rates (and accident claim rates as well) have increased during hard economic times, said the Department for Transport.
In its annual report on road casualties in the UK, the number of cyclists slain in RTAs across the country increased by 7 per cent last year to 111, up from 104 fatalities the previous year, which coincides with a number of austerity measures instituted by the government. Meanwhile, the first half of 2011 saw personal injury claims made by cyclists or their surviving family members to have increased by 12 per cent from the same time period in 2010.
Official figures say that between 1980 and 1984, cycle deaths increased by 14 per cent, while they also increased by 58 per cent between 1930 and 1935. Once the country recovered from both recessions, these cycle fatality figures once again receded, the Department records state.
Legal experts have corroborated the rise in personal injury claims made by those involved in cycling-related road accidents. While cyclists seem to get seriously or fatally injured at higher rates in recessions, other users of the road do not seem to share their fate, as the number of slain motorcyclists, pedestrians, and car occupants underwent declines from 2007 to 2010.
London Cycling Campaign spokesman, Charlie Lloyd, remarked that the increase in fatal incidents during periods of recession is most likely related to an overall increase in the number of cyclists on the road, and not that cycling fatalities are worsening. This is because greater numbers of people tend to either pick their bicycles back up or spend more time on them than they did previously during recessions in an effort to save on the costs of motoring, Mr Lloyd added.