I’ve presented here in chart form the age range of those dying while riding a bike in the Netherlands.
And for comparison, the age range of those dying while riding a bike in Britain (taken from the Times’ compilation of news reports) –
The difference is really quite remarkable. Dutch cycling deaths are skewed very heavily to the elderly; 71% of all cycling deaths are over the age of 60, and nearly 25% are over the age of 80. This is quite significant, because these are people who are the people who are more likely to die, either of natural causes while cycling, or as the result of any incident that may occur while cycling. By contrast the ‘death distribution’ in the UK is much more heavily weighted to middle age.
Of course these statistics don’t tell us a great deal in the absence of the relative amount of cycling being carried out by these age groups; but it is telling that just 9% of Dutch cycling deaths are in the age group 15-40, while in Britain 26% of all deaths are in this age group (indeed, the absolute numbers are rather similar, despite the huge difference in the amount of cycling between the two countries).
Part of the explanation must lie in the fact that the elderly cycle far more in the Netherlands than they do in the UK; they will inevitably form a higher proportion of deaths in the Netherlands on this statistical basis alone. But the graphs suggest that death while cycling in the Netherlands is much more attributable to the frailty of the population doing the cycling compared to the UK, where the age distribution of death seems to correspond more closely to the amount of cycling each age group carries out. Food for thought.