Rural roads in Midlands much more deadly than urban - The Leamington Observer

Rural roads in Midlands much more deadly than urban

Leamington Editorial 9th Nov, 2022   0

RURAL roads in the midlands are significantly more deadly than urban roads.

Analysis of official figures from Warwickshire-based rural insurer, NFU Mutual, revealed there were 78 per cent more fatalities on the midlands’ rural roads (183) than urban roads (103) in 2021. That was despite rural roads seeing fewer vehicles in a given 24-hour period.

Nationally, rural roads saw 70 per cent more fatalities (981) than urban roads (576), despite rural roads seeing more than a third fewer vehicles per day.

In response to the disproportionate risk on rural roads, NFU Mutual runs the Rural Road Safety campaign. The campaign, which is supported by the Department for Transport (DfT), British Cycling and the British Horse Society, aims to raise awareness of the unique hazards of rural roads and support all road users to reduce road casualties.

Nationally, there were nearly 10,500 fatalities or serious injuries on rural roads in 2021, an increase of over 1,000 on the previous year. Within this figure, the number of people who lost their lives on rural roads in 2021 increased by seven per cent to 981, more than two-thirds higher than the number of people killed on urban roads during the same period.

This is despite the typical stretch of rural road seeing just 11,700 vehicles in a 24-hour period, 35 per cent fewer than urban roads, which saw 18,100 per day during 2021.

Jade Devlin, rural roads specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “These latest figures confirm our fears that an increase in rural road traffic has resulted in an increase in the number of fatalities and casualties on countryside roads – with vulnerable road users generally bearing the brunt of it.

“NFU Mutual analysis also shows that in the past four years, over 4,000 people have been killed on rural roads, compared to just under 2,500 on urban roads.

“Rural roads are a lifeline to many isolated people and a shared space for the entire population, so this is a national tragedy which is rightly a key concern of our customers and the public at large.

“That is why, with our partners, we’re urging all road users to act now to ensure that any further increases in traffic on rural roads do not lead to a rise in tragic and avoidable deaths.”

After the strict pandemic lockdowns of 2020, (DfT) data shows traffic returned to higher levels last year.

This was accompanied by 225 motorcyclist deaths on rural roads in 2021 – almost aquarter more fatalities than 2020.

And on average last year, one cyclist and two pedestrians lost their lives on rural roads each week.

NFU Mutual conducted an online poll to find out what motorists think of safety on rural roads, and what they see as the biggest hazards.

Almost a quarter of respondents said they had been involved in a collision or accident on a rural road.

When drivers were asked about their greatest concern when using rural roads, just over a third highlighted other drivers, with around teh same number expressing concerns surrounding vulnerable road users like walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Winding and narrow roads were an issue for nearly a fifth of drivers and agricultural vehicles represented the greatest concern for one in ten.

To tackle the issue of rural road safety, respondents wanted to see reduced speed limits on countryside roads, more education for drivers visiting rural areas and greater rural road safety education for rural residents.

To help road users navigate the unique hazards of rural roads, NFU Mutual has worked with its campaign partners to produce information on rural road safety. This can be found at



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