"Ironically, as part of this decrease has been facilitated by a modal shift to motorised transport, it was also suggested that the decrease in motor accident death rates was to some extent nullified by the increase in the average number of miles travelled by this mode. This implies that modal shift is not risk free in terms of accidents."
Basically, what this is saying: Parents recognized that it wasn't safe for their kids to walk, so they started driving their kids. At the same time, the number of accidents per mile in cars dropped (partly because there were fewer pedestrians out there to kill). However, the increase in the overall number of miles driven meant that the decrease wasn't what it could have been.
See, _this_ is what drives me insane about people doing bad thing in order to be "safe". If you drive a car that you are less likely to die in, but you are also more likely to kill someone else by driving, _how_ is that a good thing to do?
ETA: This should be our motto:
"Given the cost of owning and running a car are not trivial it should be accepted as a condition of a driving licence that there will be vulnerable road users, that children will play in residential roads, and that drivers are responsible for taking all reasonable care to avoid injury in these situations."
I particularly like "that children will play in residential roads".
There's a comment in the article that parents were nearly sued for letting their kid cycle in the street when the kid was hit by a car. Glad it was "nearly" and not "actually" much less "successfully".