Article Text

How does mode of travel affect risks posed to other road users? An analysis of English road fatality data, incorporating gender and road type
  1. Rachel Aldred1,
  2. Rob Johnson2,
  3. Christopher Jackson3,
  4. James Woodcock4
  1. 1 Active Travel Academy; School of Architecture and Cities, University of Westminster, London, UK
  2. 2 MRC Biostatistics Unit/Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3 MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  4. 4 Centre for Diet and Activity Research, Unviersity of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rachel Aldred, London, UK; r.aldred{at}


Background Most analysis of road injuries examines the risk experienced by people using different modes of transport, for instance, pedestrian fatalities per-head or per-km. A small but growing field analyses the impact that the use of different transport modes has on other road users, for instance, injuries to others per-km driven.

Methods This paper moves the analysis of risk posed to others forward by comparing six different vehicular modes, separating road types (major vs minor roads in urban vs rural settings). The comparison of risk posed by men and women for all these modes is also novel.

Results Per-vehicle kilometre, buses and lorries pose much the highest risk to others, while cycles pose the lowest. Motorcycles pose a substantially higher per-km risk to others than cars. The fatality risk posed by cars or vans to ORUs per km is higher in rural areas. Risk posed is generally higher on major roads, although not in the case of lorries, suggesting a link to higher speeds. Men pose higher per-km risk to others than women for all modes except buses, as well as being over-represented among users of the most dangerous vehicles.

Conclusions Future research should examine more settings, adjust for spatial and temporal confounders, or examine how infrastructure or route characteristics affect risk posed to others. Although for most victims the other vehicle involved is a car, results suggest policy-makers should also seek to reduce disproportionate risks posed by the more dangerous vehicles, for instance, by discouraging motorcycling. Finally, given higher risk posed to others by men across five of six modes analysed, policy-makers should consider how to reduce persistent large gender imbalances in jobs involving driving.

  • bicycle
  • motor vehicle occupant
  • pedestrian
  • cross sectional study
  • passenger
  • driver

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  • RA and RJ are joint first authors.

  • Funding JW and CJ were supported by METAHIT, a MRC Methodology Panel project (MR/P02663X/1). JW’s contribution was also supported by the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), a UKCRC Public Health Research Centre of Excellence funded by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Wellcome Trust (MR/K023187/1) and (MR/K023187/1). CJ was funded by the UK Medical Research Council programme MC_UU_00002/11.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data are available in a public, open access repository, with the exception of data obtained directly from the Department for Transport (breakdown for England rather than all GB, which is publically available). Data was obtained from (Stats19 police injury data, traffic statistics), from the UK Data Archive (National Travel Survey) and from other publically available sources (ONS, DVLA, Labour Force Survey).