HUNDREDS of people have been seriously injured or killed by drivers in the North East in the last five years.

More than half of collisions in the region which involve cyclists are caused by drivers failing to see bikes, according to campaign group Road Safety GB North East.

Figures show almost 2,500 cyclists were injured on North East roads during the last five years, with 551 people seriously injured and 19 killed.

Drivers are being urged to look twice for people on bikes as the start of the spring and summer cycling season gets underway.

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Children are the highest risk group – with 12 to 16-year-olds accounting for 15 per cent of all cyclist injuries, while children in total account for 22 per cent.

Statistics show the vast majority of children injured while cycling (92 per cent) and 63 per cent of adults  were not wearing a helmet at the time. And all child cyclists killed and two thirds of adult fatalities were not wearing helmets when they died.

Campaign and education group Road Safety GB North East said cycling in the region had doubled since 2020 as the lockdowns led to an uptake in the activity.

And with cycling casualties typically increasing from April/May each year, and remaining high until the autumn, the group has joined with the emergency services to remind drivers to look out for bikes and to give them space when overtaking – at least 1.5m. 

RSGB NE Chair Cheryl Ford-Lyddon said: “It’s fantastic that so many people are continuing to get out on their bikes and enjoy some of the beautiful routes around the region, but it’s important we all do our bit to keep cyclists safe.

“Despite a drop in casualties for most road-user groups during the last five years, especially due to the impact of Covid on travel patterns, the number of cyclists injured on the roads has remained the same. This is most likely because more people have taken up cycling.

“Cyclists only make up around 1 per cent of miles travelled in the region, but they account for 13 per cent of serious injuries and 6 per cent of fatalities. Nobody wants a death or serious injury on their conscience. We are appealing to everyone to look out for others. Drivers should always take a second look for bikes before pulling out. It could save a life.”

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Douglas Phillips, a member of Durham University Cycling Club, said: “I would ask drivers to respect cyclists and to give them a little space or to wait until it’s safe to overtake. If you’re stuck behind a cyclist for just a minute or two, it’s only going to cost you a minute on your journey and that’s not really worth risking somebody’s life for.”

The most common location for cyclists to be involved in a collision is close to a junction, with 70 per cent of cyclist casualties occurring within 20m of where roads meet.

Chief Inspector Helen Wilson, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “We are asking drivers to take extra care around cyclists and to ensure sufficient room is left when overtaking or manoeuvring around them – at least 1.5m. We hope that raising awareness will help to save lives on our roads.”

Cycling collision in the last five years 

County Durham

Fatalities: 3

Serious injuries: 70

Slight injuries: 225

Average annual cycling miles: 10,395,832


Fatalities: 1

Serious injuries: 27

Slight injuries: 99

Average annual cycling miles: 4,703,481


Fatalities: 0

Serious injuries: 36

Slight injuries: 152

Average annual cycling miles: 6,740,313



Fatalities: 2

Serious injuries: 22

Slight injuries: 87

Average annual cycling miles: 4,204,989



Fatalities: 2

Serious injuries: 31

Slight injuries: 171

Average annual cycling miles: 9,199,919



Fatalities: 0

Serious injuries: 82

Slight injuries: 336

Average annual cycling miles: 18,977,923


North Tyneside

Fatalities: 1

Serious injuries: 48

Slight injuries: 181

Average annual cycling miles: 15,165,011



Fatalities: 4

Serious injuries: 84

Slight injuries:171

Average annual cycling miles: 7,166,029


Redcar and Cleveland

Fatalities: 2

Serious injuries: 23

Slight injuries: 66

Average annual cycling miles: 7,052,121


South Tyneside

Fatalities: 0

Serious injuries: 31

Slight injuries: 112

Average annual cycling miles: 3,774,386



Fatalities: 2

Serious injuries: 36

Slight injuries: 143

Average annual cycling miles: 9,484,798



Fatalities: 2

Serious injuries: 61

Slight injuries: 161

Average annual cycling miles: 6,837,579


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