Road Casualties - Rural and Urban
Rural roads are defined as those that have a speed limit of more than 40 mph. The statistics below exclude accidents on the M5 motorway.
In the 5 years from 2009 to 2013, there were 136 fatalities as the result of road traffic accidents in Somerset. 86 of these fatalities resulted from accidents on rural roads and 50 resulted from accidents on urban roads.
The chart below shows that, whilst most killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties occur on rural roads, the balance shifts when looking at slight casualties. This could be explained by the fact that most rural roads have higher speed limits, so when accidents do occur, the resulting casualties are more serious.
Road User types
Looking at casualties by user type, it can be seen that pedestrian fatalities are more likely to occur in urban areas whereas motorcyclists or car user fatalities are more likely to occur on rural roads. KSI casualty charts show a stronger distinction with pedestrian casualties being almost 5 times more likely to occur on urban roads, and pedal cyclist casualties being just over twice as likely to occur on urban roads. Motorcyclists are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on rural roads, as are car users.
Young car drivers
Around 58% of all 17-24 year old car drivers killed in road accidents occured on rural roads, whilst 42% occured on urban roads. KSI casualty figures for young car drivers show an even bigger discrepancy, with 74% occurring on rural roads against 26% on urban roads.
There is once again a shift in balance when slight injuries are considered. The greater proportion of road accidents in which young car drivers are slightly injured happen on urban roads. This reinforces the fact that accidents that occur on rural roads result in more serious injuries.
Accidents by road class
Between 2009 and 2013, most fatal accidents occurred on A class roads (65%), two-thirds of these were on A class rural roads. Only 22% of fatal accidents occurred on unclassified roads, whilst collisions on B class roads accounted for 14% of all fatal collisions during the 5 years.
KSI collisions follow the same pattern, with most occurring on A class roads (53%: 31% on A class rural roads and 22% on A class urban roads). KSI collisions on B class roads accounted for 15% of all KSI collisions and those on unclassified roads accounted for 32%.
Over the 5 year period, there were more slight collisions on urban unclassified roads than on rural unclassified roads. There is also a shift in figures for collisions on A class roads with more collisions occurring on urban roads than on rural roads. B class roads also showed more collisions occurring on urban roads than on rural roads. This follows the pattern of road accidents in urban areas resulting in injuries that are less serious than those resulting from collisions on rural roads.
Source: Somerset Road Safety. Percentages may not always add up to 100, due to rounding to 1 decimal place