Safest areas in the UK to be a pedestrian
Regardless of where you live in the UK, you will probably find yourself having to walk to get somewhere.
This, however, might leave you wondering precisely how safe it is to take a stroll in your neighbourhood. This is at the forefront of people’s minds even more so during the time of year when the days get darker much quicker, as typically most crimes take place once it is dark outside.
One way that local authorities can better protect pedestrians is to implement the installation of bollards, to provide a visual guide and physical boundary between pedestrian areas and vehicles. Another option would be to deploy reinforced bollards, often referred to as anti ram bollards, to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents.
We at Bollards Direct have researched cities across the UK, looking at factors such as the number of pedestrian accidents involving vehicles and crime rates, normalised against each city’s population. We also looked at safety concerns pedestrians may have, such as being mugged, how safe they feel walking alone at night and worries of being attacked to get an indication of which places in the UK are the safest for the average pedestrian.
The UK’s safest areas for pedestrians
Pedestrian Safety Score: 9.44/10
Wokingham, a market town in Berkshire and just 37 miles west of London, takes the number one spot for safest pedestrian areas, with a score of 9.44 out of 10. In terms of crime rates and safety, Wokingham ranked in the top five for both factors, indicating its general safety.
The town also ranked well for their low number of pedestrian accidents. And furthermore, residents feel safe walking alone at night, scoring 66.67 out of 100 on that index. The residents of Wokingham also have little worry about being mugged or attacked, especially due to ethnicity, race or gender.
2.Perth and Kinross
Pedestrian Safety Score: 9.20/10
Perth and Kinross, one of thirty-two council areas in Scotland, takes second place for safest areas in the UK for pedestrians. Overall, the area scored 9.2 out of 10 for pedestrian safety, ranking in the top five for lowest crime rates and finishing sixth for areas with the lowest number of pedestrian accidents.
2.Telford and Wrekin
Pedestrian Safety Score: 9.20/10
Telford and Wrekin, a unitary authority in Shropshire, shares second place for the safest pedestrian areas in the UK. The area ranks well for having a high perceived safety amongst its residents. Furthermore, it ranks in the top 15 for low numbers of pedestrian accidents, per 100,000 of the area's population. It also scored 3.12 out of 100 on worries about being attacked due to ethnicity, race or gender. In this instance, a lower score means lower worry about this issue.
The UK areas with the least pedestrian accidents
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Pedestrian Accidents per 100,000 People: 69
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole come out on top for the lowest number of pedestrian accidents. Over the last 10 years, Bournemouth and its nearby areas have recorded just 69 pedestrian accidents involving vehicles per 100,000 of the population.
2.Isles of Scilly
Pedestrian Accidents per 100,000 People: 90
The Isles of Scilly appear once again, this time as the UK’s second-safest place for pedestrians due to its low pedestrian accident count. The past decade has seen the Isles of Scilly record 90 pedestrian accidents involving vehicles per 100,000 of its population.
3. Shetland Islands
Pedestrian Accidents per 100,000 People: 118
In third spot for the lowest number of pedestrian accidents in the UK, are the Shetland Islands, with just 118 recorded pedestrian accidents involving vehicles over the last 10 years, per 100,000 of its population.
The UK areas with the lowest crime rates
- Isles of Scilly
Crime Rate per 10,000 People: 139
The Isles of Scilly, take the top spot for the UK’s lowest crime rate. The Isles of Scilly reported just 139 crimes between 2021 and 2022, per 10,000 of the population, indicating that pedestrians can have little concern for their safety in this area.
Crime Rate per 10,000 People: 165
Taking the second spot, we have another archipelago, this time up in Scotland, off its Northern coast. The Orkney Islands recorded 165 crimes between 2021 and 2022, per 10,000 of the population.
Crime Rate per 10,000 People: 199
Once again, with another series of islands, we have the Shetland Islands, in the northernmost part of the UK, quite a distance off the Scottish coast. From 2021 to 2022, the Shetland Islands recorded a total of 199 crimes per 10,000 of its population.
The UK’s top 50 safest cities for pedestrians:
To begin with, we looked at the UK cities with the highest populations, using ONS data, however, many higher-populated areas had to be removed due to a lack of data, in which case they were replaced with other UK areas with lower populations.
To look at the safety of each city, we looked at Numbeo to take the risk of walking home alone, being mugged or robbed, being attacked or being subjected to a hate crime (attacked because of skin colour, ethnicity or gender). This data is correct as of 5/12/2022. We then used these index scores as factors in our “Pedestrian Safety Score”.
Using ONS crime data (June 2022, Table C2) and Scottish Government data, we looked at the crime rates for each city. The data from 2021-22 is correct as of 5/12/2022 and shows total recorded crimes, with the Scottish government data showing this per 10,000 of each location's population. So, we simply calculated the crime rate per 10,000 people for the non-Scottish locations and then ranked each city on that figure. Note: Areas with lower crime rates may be linked to significantly lower population numbers.
To look at the cities with the lowest number of pedestrian accidents, we used Gov.uk data, looking at the Local Authority data under the road user type datasheet. From that sheet, we got the total number of pedestrian accidents from 2012-2021 and then calculated it per 100,000 of each location's population.
And finally, to get our Pedestrian Safety Score, we calculated a score out of 10 based on each of the factors mentioned above. We then ranked each location based on this score.