People cycling, walking and on motorbikes continued to be most likely to die on roads in 2021, show figures released today by Government.

People cycling and walking had a death rate in 2021 nearly nine times higher than car occupants. People on motorbikes had a death rate almost 40 times higher than car occupants. [1]

The Government figures show a post-pandemic increase in road deaths and injuries in Britain in 2021 compared with 2020.

There were 1,558 deaths on roads in 2021, a 7% increase compared with 2020.

There were 25,892 serious injuries, meaning for every death there were more than 16 serious injuries. [2]

The vast majority of deaths were vulnerable road users and people in cars [3]: 682 deaths were people in cars and 782 were on foot or on bicycles or motorcycles (including 361 people on foot, 310 motorcyclists and 111 cyclists).

The government report also shows that a quarter of car occupant fatalities in recent years were not wearing seatbelts, demonstrating the vital importance of belting up. [4]

Road deaths hit at the heart of families in 2021, killing our children, young people and parents; 878 deaths on roads were people aged under 50. [5]

The United Nations target is for a reduction of 50% in deaths and serious injuries on roads by 2030. Casualty reduction in Britain in recent years has been occurring at a slower rate than other European nations, and has now increased. [6]

Mary Williams OBE, chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, which runs the National Road Victim Service, caring for bereaved and seriously injured road victim families, said: “The carnage on roads, that takes lives indiscriminately, devastates families, and causes appalling injuries, must end. No death or serious injury on roads is acceptable.

“The total estimate of the value of preventing these horrifying and devastating collisions in 2021 was around £30 billion, including huge costs to our NHS and emergency services. To save money as well as lives, and in line with the recommendations of the Safe Roads for All Alliance, we urge this new Government to put road safety at the heart of its infrastructure plans, set targets for reducing the carnage, urgently implement policies and funding for safe vehicle use and road safety infrastructure in our towns and between places, and help provide devastated families with the support they need.

“We welcome the changes in terminology used for these statistics – to refer to collisions instead of ‘accidents’. All road crashes have causes that can be prevented.”

References Down arrow icon to open accordion
  1. RAS0201 Rate of death of car occupants is 3 per billion vehicle miles, compared with a rate of death of people on foot of 26 per billion walked miles, rate of death of people on bicycles 26 per billion cycled miles, and rate of death of people on motorcycles 123 per billion miles rode.
  2. RAS0201
  3. RAS0201
  4. RAS0711
  5. RAS0202
  6. The European Transport Safety Council’s Performance Index (PIN) programme enables comparisons of road safety progress between European countries to be made. The latest PIN report covers 2021, and shows that, across the European Union, there was a 31% reduction in fatalities in 2021, compared to 2011. The equivalent figure for Great Britain was a decrease of 18%.