Official publication "Road Casualties Great Britain" includes some surprising data in table 26. We've produced the charts below based on the latest data (2003).
The first three charts present the data relating to pedestrian risk. Each bar represents the pedestrian deaths (or injuries in the case of figure 3) for each 100 million vehicle kilometres travelled for a vehicle class.
|All roads pedestrian fatality
Some amazing surprises here - Light goods vehicles are less dangerous to pedestrians than push bikes! Clearly we'd expect heavy vehicles - lorries and buses - to be more dangerous, but to discover that buses are almost 13 times more dangerous than "white van man" is a huge surprise.
Perhaps even more surprising, is that pedal cycles represent a greater risk to pedestrians than light goods vehicles.
But perhaps the risks in town are different?
|Urban pedestrian fatality
These figures apply to urban roads only - Buses pose 10.5 times the risk of light vans.
|Urban pedestrian serious
These figures apply to the risk of serious injury to pedestrians on urban roads.
Let's always remember that the definition of "serious injury" does not relate well to the impression that the term creates. Only half of serious injury cases are hospitalised. The serious injury statistics are also behaving strangely - we regard the series as currently unsuitable for year to year comparisons. See (this page).
|Proportions of different
vehicle groups speeding in 30 and 40mph limits
This isn't proof that "speeding" doesn't influence pedestrian fatality risk, but on the other hand it certainly isn't even the slightest evidence that it does. It's just one more small nail in the coffin of modern road safety policy founded on speed and speeding - no matter where we look there's no evidence to support the dogma.
These listed characteristics might be amongst
the most important. We've rated each suggestion according to our best guess
of likelihood. We don't know the facts - if anyone does, please let us
Why do buses have such a high pedestrian risk value?
These two charts (figures 6 and 7) are severity ratios calculated from the RAGB table 26 data.
Figure 6 shows the "fatality / all injuries" ratio affecting pedestrians for various vehicle groups.
Figure 7 shows the "serious injuries / all injuries" ratio affecting pedestrians for the various vehicle groups.
The apparent poor performance of Heavy Goods Vehicles here is very likely to be caused (at least in part) by injuries caused by rear wheels and trailers of long vehicles.
|Bus Lanes - discussion
Very soon after initial publication of this page two people wrote to us suggesting that bus lanes make a unique contribution to the poor performance of buses.
A former accident investigator from London said this:
"I can tell you that in central London the bus was known as the "inner-city serial killer". One of the reasons for the relatively high fatality rate is due, especially in London, to tourists looking the wrong way and emerging into the path of the hapless bus driver.
"One very big point you left out of your list of why buses are dangerous to pedestrians is: people simply don't expect to see a bus in a bus lane. Bus lanes spend almost all of their time devoid of any traffic, except for the very occasional bus. This is not just my opinion, but that of many people I've spoken to who have had the experience of almost being hit by a bus. The most dangerous bus lanes are the contra flow ones in a one-way street, where people not only don't expect to see a bus, but they're looking in the wrong direction."We'll try to find data from 20 years ago to see if the comparative performance of buses was much better in the days before bus lanes became widespread. Watch this space.
Safe Speed encourages comments, further information and participation from our visitors. See our (forums).
Read about our comments policy (here).
Safe driving is no accident
Created 16/10/2004. Last update 17/10/2004