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Cyclist and pedestrian sharing space
Cyclist and pedestrian sharing space
Headline Messages: 
  • Research shows that cyclists are perfectly able to mix harmoniously with pedestrians and, contrary to popular belief, are not a major danger to them.
  • Pedestrians are more likely to be injured or killed in collision with a motor vehicle than in collision with a cycle, even if they are walking on the verge or footway (pavement). This is all the more surprising because, unlike driving, most cycling takes place where there are high levels of pedestrian activity.
Key facts: 
  • Around 98% of serious or fatal pedestrian injuries in urban areas (i.e. where pedestrians are most likely to be) - are due to collisions with motor vehicles. 
  • Per mile travelled, pedal cycles are less likely than cars to injure a pedestrian, and far less likely to kill them. In Great Britain, from 2009 to 2013:
    • Cycles accounted for about 2% of all urban, non-motorway vehicular traffic and were involved in 0.82% of pedestrian fatalities and 1.6% of serious injuries to pedestrians;
    • Mile-for-mile in urban areas, motor vehicles were about 1.2 times more likely than a cycle to seriously injure a pedestrian, and almost 2.5 times more likely to kill them;
    • There was one pedestrian death involving a cycle on the pavement or verge, whereas altogether, 34 pedestrians on average each year were killed by vehicles on pavements/verges.
  • An official study of pedestrian priority sites in the 1990s found only one pedestrian/cyclist incident in 15 site years.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Cyclists should behave responsibly and within the law.
  • Cyclists do very little harm to other road users, including pedestrians.
  • Unlike driving, most cycling takes place in areas of high pedestrian activity, but it poses far less risk to pedestrians than motor vehicles. This is the case even for pavement cycling and red light jumping, neither of which CTC condones.
  • Cyclists and pedestrians are able to interact far more harmoniously, even in crowded conditions, than is often thought.
  • People who are frail or who suffer sensory or mobility impairments are often understandably reluctant to share space with cyclists. Trials, however, usually prove that cyclists very rarely put any pedestrian in a hazardous situation. Codes of practice - backed up as required by policing - are preferable solutions, rather than undermining the promotion of safe cycling for fear of the actions of a minority.
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Publication Date: 
February 2015
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