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Direct Line Insurance : Number of bike accidents fall as councils invest in cycling infrastructure

  • The number of cyclists involved in road traffic accidents fell by 10 per cent between H1 2019 and H1 2021
  • The number of accidents taking place in cycle lanes fell by 14 per cent over the same timeframe
  • Council level investment in cycle lanes rose by 36 per cent between 2019 and 2021
  • The total length of Britain’s cycle lane network is twice the length of the Great Wall of China

New research1 from Direct Line Cycling Insurance reveals that the number of cyclists involved in road traffic accidents in Great Britain fell by 10 per cent between 2019 and 2021, as councils invested heavily in cycling infrastructure.

In the first half of last year there were a total of 7,547 accidents involving cyclists, an average of 40 per day. This is 861 fewer however, than were recorded in H1 2019, when there were 8,408 accidents, or 44 per day. Analysis of the location of accidents that took place last year revealed only 255 (three per cent) occurred in a cycle lane. Less than one in 30 incidents occurred in the safety of a designated cycling lane, representing a 14 per cent drop when compared to 2019 (298).

These findings come as an unprecedented number of Britons took up cycling during the pandemic, with research from the insurer showing that nearly 400,000 Britons started cycling regularly, with a total of nearly a fifth (19 per cent or 2.6 million) of regular cyclists having started in the past five yearstwo.

The decrease in the number of accidents comes as local authorities have added 554 new cycle lanes over the past three years, a six per cent increase, spending a total of £869.7 million in the process to make streets more cyclist friendly.

Britain has a total cycling network spanning 12,171 miles, with an estimated 9,200 cycle lanes across Britain, far enough to cycle from one end of the Great Wall of China to the other and back, or to span from Land’s End to John o’ Groats nearly 14 times. If this doesn’t sound far enough, councils are also currently developing more than 1,300 new cycle routes across the country, with nearly 1,900 being planned in future.

Sam Ruddock, paralympic track cycling athlete, said: “The health and environmental benefits of cycling are undisputed, so it is brilliant to see more and more Brits jumping on their bikes, whether it’s for leisure, a physical challenge or simply a way of getting from A to B. The research shows that councils are investing more money into cycle lanes and initiatives each year, which not only encourages people to take up the hobby but also allows for a safer way to enjoy the great outdoors too.

“It is a welcome statistic that people can commute, saunter or train by bike, more safely than in previous years. Thanks to the infrastructure changes implemented across the nation, there has never been a better time to get out there and ride.”

Vincent Guadagnino, Communications Manager for Direct Line Cycling Insurance said: “It is great to see local authorities investing in cycling infrastructure. As well as encouraging more people to cycle frequently, our analysis suggests that this is also helping to save lives, with the number of accidents occurring in cycle lanes falling considerably in recent years. However, it is still important to consider taking out specialist cycling insurance to cover both the bike itself and also the cyclist, as sadly accidents do still happen.”

Direct Line Cycling Insurance provides comprehensive coverage for bikes both at and away from home, paying out for theft and accidental or malicious damage. For further information on policies or approved safety measures, please visit


Notes to Editors

1 Direct Line Group analysis of Department for Transport Road Safety Data published on the 25th November 2021 (latest available dataset).

two Research conducted by Opinium among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults between 5th-8th april

3 Freedom of Information Act request made to local and county councils across Great Britain in April 2022. Figures extrapolated to cover the whole of Britain to account for authorities which did not respond to the request.

For further information please contact:

Chelsey Wheeler
Deputy Head of News and Issues – Direct Line

Tel: 01651 832 095

E-mail: [email protected]

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance coverage direct to customers by phone or online.

Direct Line Cycling Insurance is arranged by Gator Bikesure Ltd, a subsidiary of Two Three Bird, who provides insurance solutions across the UK. The insurance is underwritten by Red Sands Insurance Company (Europe) Ltd. Gator Bikesure Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Compass Underwriting Ltd who is Authorized and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under firm reference number 304908. Red Sands Insurance Company (Europe) Ltd is Authorized and Regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Gator Bikesure Ltd (Company Number: 09492364) registered address: 3rd Floor, 114a Cromwell Road, London, United Kingdom, SW7 4AG. Customers can find out more about our Direct Line Cycling Insurance products or get more information by visiting or calling 0330 460 0277.

Two Three Bird has operated in the cycling insurance industry for over 13 years and holds a presence on four continents, providing leading specialist cyclist insurance solutions to partners in South Africa, Australia, North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.


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