Fears were raised today after new research revealed the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads rose by more in Lancashire than anywhere else in the country.
But County Hall chiefs insist the latest statistics, released by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), failed to show how there has been a long-term fall in casualties on Lancashire’s roads.
However, bosses said they remained concerned at the increase.
The number of collisions where somebody was killed or seriously injured (KSI) rose by 72 in 2013, to 642.
Council bosses said the increase, labelled the worst in Britain by the research, was in part down to the rising popularity of cycling, and which in turn saw casualty figures for cyclists soar.
But Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “The way the IAM has presented these figures doesn’t show the full picture and in fact the long term trend for road casualties in Lancashire is strongly downwards.
“In 2013, 26 per cent fewer people were killed and seriously injured than just four years before, when the yearly average was 873.
“However, I’m very concerned at the rise in KSI casualties last year and the extra £1m we’ll be investing over the coming year is targeted at reducing the types of accident which have contributed to this increase.
“For example, we saw quite a substantial increase in KSI accidents to cyclists from 68 in 2012 to 100 in 2013 and future schemes will be targeted at improving junctions in the areas where injuries are highest, with further work to make cyclists and drivers more aware of the need to look out for each other.
“The figures also hide major progress in some areas, and our targeted work to reduce child casualties has seen KSI accidents fall by 52 per cent over four years.”
Simon Best, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “As the economy improves, spending on road safety must be seen as a priority across the whole of the UK with clear strategies in place to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.
“Even one death or injured person on our roads is one too many.”