According to new figures, more than 1,000 London cyclists were injured and two killed in hit-and-run road traffic accidents last year.
Although the number of fatal and serious cycling accidents in London fell last year, hit-and-run incidents involving cyclists rose by 13% to 1,014.
Pedestrian hit-and-run injuries also increased by 16%, making almost one-fifth of all injuries suffered by cyclists and pedestrians in 2014 attributable to drivers who failed to stop.
The figures, which were obtained by the Green Party, paint an alarming picture that Green Party Assembly Member Baroness Jones has likened to a “culture of lawless roads,” blaming the increasing trend for dangerous driving to a “substantial proportion” of illegal drivers on the capital’s roads.
“Drivers in London are trying to escape justice in increasing numbers and the culture of lawless roads is getting worse, not better,” said Baroness Jones. “Something has gone very wrong when a fifth of the injuries to pedestrians and cyclists involve a failure to stop. There are far too many arrogant drivers who think they can get away with injuring someone, just as they think they can get away with breaking the rules on speeding, jumping red lights and using mobile phones.”
In 2014, a 57-year-old man and a 32-year-old father-of-two were killed whilst cycling by drivers who failed to stop. In addition, 91 cyclists suffered serious injuries and a further 921 cyclists suffered minor injuries in hit-and-run incidents.
1,212 pedestrians were injured in hit-and-run incidents last year, up from 1,043 in 2013 when 894 cyclists were victims of drivers failing to stop.
Transport for London figures show the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in London in all collisions fell by 11% last year to 432. The total number of cycling injuries, however, rose to 5,146.
2014 was the tenth successive year-on-year increase and the highest London cyclist injury toll since 1989, when an astonishing 33 cyclists were killed and 752 were seriously injured among a total of 5,164 incidents.
These figures are extremely disturbing, and illustrate how road crime like this needs to be made a priority. Research has shown that unlicensed and uninsured drivers are much more likely to be involved in road traffic accidents than those driving legally.
The “culture of lawless roads” Baroness Jones mentions is getting worse and shows that the police need to take urgent action against the increasing number of unlicensed and uninsured vehicles currently on London’s roads.
The Department for Transport has found that uninsured drivers are 10 times more likely to have been convicted for drink-driving offences, while unlicensed drivers are up to nine times more likely to be involved in a collision.
The London Mayor's office have recently announced the mayor is investing almost £1bn in cycling infrastructure and in tackling illegal, dangerous and careless road behaviour.
Oliver Jeffcott is an Associate Personal Injury Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London. Oliver is a keen cyclist who has written extensively on cycling and road safety for numerous national publications.