In 2012, 70 pedestrians were killed in Greater London.
This was down on the previous year (77 deaths) but up on the year before that (58 deaths).
But where did these people actually die? A parliamentary question by Tooting MP and former Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Sadiq Khan drew an answer from the roads minister which showed that 18 of the fatalities (26%) were on pedestrian crossings. Mr Khan’s questioning also revealed that in 2012 two of those who were killed were aged 0-15 (2010:8, 2011:5).
This prompted us to look more closely at the data used by the DfT in their annual Reported Road Casualties GB report which is heavily based on the Stats19 data the police collect in the aftermath of accidents. This makes for grim but fascinating reading.
This is the breakdown of where exactly the 70 people died:
|On the crossing||18|
|On the zigzags||0|
|Within 50 metres of a crossing (not on the crossing or zigzags)||11|
|In the carriageway crossing elsewhere||29|
|Walking along the carriageway (road)||4|
|On the central reservation/island||1|
According to the data no one was killed on the ‘footway or verge’.
The figures also show that of the people being killed:
- 39 were men and 31 were women
- 22 were killed in darkness and 48 in daylight
The high proportion of people killed at pedestrian crossings is worrying (though any death is a tragedy) however should we be surprised that the deaths are concentrated at the very locations where road engineers and planners encourage us to get from one side of the road to the other thus bringing together those on two feet with those on two and four wheels?
Of course if you are a pedestrian you have every right to expect to be safe when you use a facility designed especially to protect you which is why we know to need more about the circumstances of these crashes.
What the publicly available figures don’t tell you is the contributory factors in these deaths. For example how many were related to distraction? How many were speed related? How many were down to drunk drivers or riders, or indeed pedestrians? How many of the people involved were talking on their mobile phones or texting?
Perhaps the next questions Mr Khan asks the Department for Transport could be formulated to shed more light on these areas.