How safe are cyclists on European roads?

Cyclists, while relatively small in proportion with respect to motorized vehicles, have a high level of vulnerability, creating a significant need to better understand the characteristics specific to this user group. A good insight into the problem provides an opportunity to improve the road safety of this cheap, convenient and environmentally friendly mode of transport. In 2013, more than 2.000 cyclists were killed in road traffic accidents in 27 EU countries, constituting almost 8% of all road accident fatalities for that year. Although a considerable decrease by 32% in the total number of bicycle fatalities in noted within the decade 2004 – 2013, it is still smaller than the respective reduction of the overall road fatalities by 45%.The objective of this research is the analysis of basic road safety parameters related to cyclists in European countries, by the use of the EU CARE database with disaggregate data on road accidents, as well as of other international data sources (OECD/IRTAD, Eurostat, etc.). Time-series data on road accidents involving cyclists from 27 EU countries over a period of 10 years (2004-2013) are correlated with basic safety parameters, such as road type, season of the year, age and gender. Data from the EU Injury Database are used to identify injury patterns and improve the assessment of injury severity, and additional insight into accident causation for cyclists is offered through the use of in-depth accident data from the EC SafetyNet project Accident Causation System. The results of the analysis allow for an overall assessment of the cyclists safety level in Europe in comparison to other modes of transport, thus providing useful support to decision makers working for the improvement of safety in the European road network.