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UK Government will create new micromobility category in casualty reporting

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The UK Government has confirmed that it will introduce a new recording category to its data collection from 2024 to specifically measure micromobility incidents. This will include, but not be exclusive, to e-scooters. 

When accidents happen on a public highway, collisions involving e-cycles and e-scooters are included within the Department for Transport’s (DfT) road casualty statistics. Statistics on e-scooters are publicly available, while e-cycles are captured within either the pedal cycle or motorcycle categories.

The DfT said that while micromobility incidents are carefully monitored, it is continuously working to improve its recording processes as technology develops.

This comes as the International Transport Forum of the OECD (ITF) releases its annual road safety report which calls for much stronger data collection on all forms of micromobility related injury.

E-bike fatalities on the rise

One of the biggest micromobility findings in this report was that the share of e-bikes in cycling fatalities is growing in five countries.

Israel had the largest number of e-bike fatalities (52%) in 2021, though this has fallen sharply from 81% in 2020.  Belgium (47%) and Switzerland (41%) reported similar figures, while in Germany the numbers have increased from 9% in 2015 to 35% in 2021. 

Besides Israel, the only other country to see the share of e-bikes in cyclist fatalities drop was Denmark, which went from 32% in 2020 to 12% in 2021.

Overall, cyclist fatalities fell by just 1% between 2010 and 2019 for the 34 member countries. The number of cyclists killed increased in 15 of these 34 countries, partly reflecting the growing popularity of cycling in many contexts.

“Around half of ITF member countries have seen an increase in cycling deaths as more people cycle, but per kilometre cycled there is little change,” Stephen Perkins, Head of Research and Policy Analysis at the International Transport Forum at the OECD, told Zag Daily. 

“Older people taking up cycling on e-bikes account for much of the increase in some countries.” 

For e-scooters, the ITF found that the UK, USA and Argentina report a growing concern with the involvement of new mobility devices (which includes e-scooters) in crashes. 

But it is important to note that National data systems have traditionally classified users of these devices as pedestrians, although this classification is now changing in some jurisdictions. 

“E-scooters showed no difference from cycling in risk per km used when we last examined the limited data available – the picture may change as more data becomes available,” said Perkins.

Pedestrian fatalities also increased by 46% in the U.S and 17% in the UK between 2010-19. 

IRTAD’s 14 recommendations 

The International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD) plays a crucial role in monitoring road crashes and casualties. 

IRTAD has produced 14 recommendations, which call for better road safety data for better road safety outcomes. 

These include a need to collect data to support a shift to more active and sustainable mobility; allocate resources to collecting and analysing new data on new modes of mobility; and co-operate in the development of regional road safety observatories to foster the development of harmonised crash data systems. 

This mirrors the three shared e-scooter operators’ recent recommendations in Paris on the need for a ‘micromobility observatory’ that would produce independent data on users and accidents to be shared with city authorities. Tier further cemented this need in a new report issued yesterday by its French safety board to create an accident observatory

The move reflects a Safe System approach, which says that proactive tools should be used to identify and address safety issues, and which emphasises infrastructure improvements to protect vulnerable road users.

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