National and local government and police forces work closely to achieve a high reporting standard for road accident data. Very few, if any, fatal accidents do not become known to the police. However, research conducted on behalf of the Department has shown that an appreciable proportion of non-fatal injury accidents are not reported to the police. There is no legal duty in Great Britain to report personal injury road accidents to the police, provided the participants exchange details at the scene.
Research has also shown that pedal cycle casualties are underrepresented in the road accident data (STATS19). In particular, accidents in which the pedal cyclist is the only participant are not likely to be reported to the Police. Recent research using Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) shows that many accidents not recorded in the police data are the result of a person (often a child) falling from a bicycle with no other vehicle involved.
This research was published by the Department in an article in Road Casualties Great Britain: 2006 annual report (pages 60-72). A copy of the report has been deposited in the Libraries of the House or can be found at the following address: