The number of people killed in road accidents last year fell to the lowest figure since records began in 1926, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

Deaths decreased to 1,754 in 2012 from 1,901 in 2011 (a fall of 8%), and the number of people seriously injured was down 0.4% to 23,039 in 2012 from 23,122 in 2011. This figure is 15% lower than the 2005-09 average.

However, despite this, the number of pedal cyclists killed rose by 10% to 118 and the number of seriously injured cyclists rose, for the eighth year in a row, to 3,222. The increase in deaths was mainly among the young with the number of child cyclists killed doubling from six in 2011 to 13 in 2012, although the number seriously injured fell by a fifth.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “The good news of a large drop in road deaths in 2012 is marred by an increase in cyclist deaths, which occurred despite the poor weather in the main cycling seasons of spring and summer, which probably meant fewer cyclists were on the road. If the weather had been better, there may have been even more cyclists killed and injured.

“Even though road deaths in 2012 were at their lowest level since records began, we need to redouble our efforts to make sure that cyclist deaths and injuries are reduced as the popularity of cycling increases.

“The fact that most of the increase in cycling deaths was among child cyclists is particularly worrying. As well as increasing the provision of cyclist training and trying to make the roads safer for cyclists, we also need to hammer home the message to drivers to keep their speed down, watch out for cyclists and give them enough room on the road.”