Recent trends in bike rider fatalities in Australia

by / Wednesday, 12 August 2015 / Published in News item

The Amy Gillett Foundation welcomes important new statistics from leading Australian researchers that examines trends in bike riding fatalities.

The study by University of New South Wales researchers Soufiane Boufous and Jake Olivier examines trends in cyclist fatalities in Australia between 1991 and 2013 compared to fatalities among other road users. The research also looks at trends in single and multi-vehicle crashes and age distribution of bike rider fatalities.

This research found that:

  • Overall, cycling fatalities decreased by 1.9% annually between 1991 and 2013.
  • Overall, cyclist deaths decreased steadily from 58 deaths in 1991 to 33 in 2012 with a marked increase to 50 deaths in 2013.
  • While deaths following multi-vehicle crashes decreased at a rate of 2.9% per annum, deaths from single vehicle crashes increased by 5.8% per annum.
  • Over the study period, the average age of cyclists who died in single vehicle crashes (45.3 years), was significantly higher than cyclists who died in multivehicle crashes (36.2 years).
  • The average age of deceased cyclists increased significantly for both types of crashes.

Amy Gillett Foundation interim CEO Belinda Clark said the study added an important layer of evidence which will assist in the AGF’s efforts to reduce bike rider fatalities in Australia.

Over the period of the study fewer people were killed riding their bikes, which is good news,” Ms Clark said. “It’s helpful to have this statistical evidence.”

“However as is noted in the research, there was a marked increase in bike rider fatalities in 2013 compared to 2012 and whilst there was a decrease in fatalities following multi-vehicle crashes there was an increase in fatalities in single vehicle crashes, with both statistics obviously cause for serious concern.”

“This research is valuable but it’s just part of the picture. Bike rider safety is about fatal and non-fatal crashes and previous research tells us that non-fatal crash numbers are increasing.”

“The research points to cycling’s rising popularity, however they also acknowledge, “… there is no comprehensive national exposure data* in Australia,” and this is an important part of the jigsaw that remains missing in bike rider safety research in Australia.”

“A lack of cycling exposure data means it’s almost impossible to determine the safety gains indicated by the decrease in the number of cyclist fatalities. While it seems logical to assume that fewer deaths is better, this must be matched by a continuing or increase number of people riding bikes, so more detail on cycling exposure is needed.”

*Exposure data refers to the details of people’s use of bikes: for example, the number of trips taken in a week, the distance travelled (km), duration of trip (time) or route choice.

The report – Recent trends in cyclist fatalities in Australia (PDF Download Available) is available from: