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Ahead for figures


How nice that David Bayliss should rise to the bait (NCE 6 June), but what a pity he should do so with his tail in his mouth, to put it politely.

He states that the 'case for pedestrian fatalities in the Netherlands is just over twice the UK rate'. In fact at 0.75 deaths per 100,000 population a year it is less than half the UK's 1.7 (1997 data).

He also quotes the fact that we walk and cycle 20% less than the rest of the European Union. The reason I chose the Dutch was that they stood above the whole of the EU for walking and cycling significantly more.

I stand by the facts that we walk and cycle three times less than the Dutch. My 17% for the UK, 46% for the Netherlands data is obtained from a paper by John Pulcher from the University of Rutgers who, in the late 1990's, authoritatively compared statistics from a wide number of countries' departments of transport.

Current surveys in the UK point to falling numbers walking since then, but whatever the facts the underlying message is the same - on either David's (corrected) statistics or my statistics we kill pedestrians per journey at a rate of between 4 to 9 times our Dutch counterparts.

Do we not have some responsibility for such an imbalance? Has it nothing to do with design? Are not these facts compelling enough or would the experts rather blame the politicians (again)?

Mark Whitby, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AA

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