Western Australian cyclists are dying on our roads in greater numbers than previous years with a dramatic upward trend showing no signs of easing according to data released in August by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.
Jeremey Murray, CEO of Bicycling Western Australia, a not-for-profit organisation, said there appears to be an increase in the number of crashes where cyclists are dying or being seriously injured.
“Overall the number of KSI (killed or seriously injured) incidents in relation to cycling is increasing,” Mr Murray said.
“Whilst one cyclist death on the road is one too many, we do have to accept that as the number of cyclists on the road increase, there will always be the danger, statistically speaking, that the number of cyclists either being killed or seriously injured will increase.
“What is of concern though is that cyclist deaths, as a percentage of total cyclists on the road, has remained steady suggesting that there has been no improvement in cyclist safety.”
In 2013 there was a spike in cyclist deaths.
The BITRE figures suggest that 2013 was not a spike, but the beginning of a trend, with eight deaths already reported in the eight months to August, a fatality rate greater than the total number of deaths for the whole of 2013.
Opposition transport spokesman Ken Travers said an evidence-based approach was needed to explain the increase in cyclist fatalities so appropriate measures could be put in place.
“I am unaware whether the current government is undertaking an evidence-based approach to this issue,” Mr Travers said.
“However, if they are, they are not communicating it to the public, and that is unacceptable.”
Mr Travers also said the State Government had failed to deliver on promises it made in the 2012 election to fund infrastructure aimed at improving cyclist safety.
“The government has failed to deliver on its election promise to spend $10 million every year for three years on infrastructure designed to create a safer environment for cyclists,” he said.
“By failing to deliver on this promise they are putting cyclists at greater risk of having an accident.”
State Transport Minister Dean Nalder was contacted for comment.
Photography: Leigh Williams