Tuesday 24 April 2012
Road Safety Failure by Minister
Mike Penning, the Minister for Road Safety, asserted today that the Dutch could learn from us about road safety. This infuriated cyclists, yet again, by complete misusing statistics. He claims there are 5 times fewer deaths in the UK than in the Netherlands.
Let's have a better look at this. I've put the details up in a Google Document.
Essentially, stating deaths per 100,000 population takes no account of how many cyclists are actually cycling, or how far they are going. Most people involved in this kind of statistical analysis like to look at the rate per head per km annually.
Steadily building up a picture just shows how disingenuous the original claim is. I've quoted my sources (apart from assuming Mike Penning's initial claim).
Just taking into account the different population sizes, the Netherlands has around 139 deaths per year compared to the 105 in the UK, getting near the same.
Then, working out the death rate per 100,000 cyclists shows the Netherlands has around 3.11 deaths per year compared to the 8.50 in the UK. Suddenly the UK's record is starting to look a little ropey.
Finally, factoring in how much cycling is done, the death rate per Km per 100million cyclists is a 0.92 in the Netherlands compared to the 2.33 in the UK. Suddenly, in comparison the UK's record looks terrible, with around 3 times the death rate. This is 15 times worse than the Minister for Road Safety claims.
It completely defies any kind of logic that the Minister for Road Safety would miss this and try to claim a better record. He's incompetence or wilful arrogance suggests he is not capable of doing the job.