Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and president of the Liberal Democrats, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his long-term campaign to make his constituency's roads safer and prevent casualties.
One of the main focuses of Tim's campaign has been the heavily used A684 between Kendal and Sedbergh, the scene of a number of major crashes in recent years. One of Tim's constituents, Gary Sharp, 48, died on the A684 on 25 October 2013, when his motorcycle collided with a car.
Devastating crashes such as this spurred Tim in his campaign to improve road safety in the area. It is believed that the road surface on the A684, which many of Tim's constituents described as slippery and unsafe, even at low speeds, may have contributed to the spate of crashes.
Tim and his team lobbied Cumbria County Council for months for a long term solution to improve safety on the road, and wrote numerous letters demanding action. The campaign has recently seen success with the A684 having been resurfaced at the end of June 2014.
Tim has also been active in his constituency campaigning to reduce speed limits, including the introduction of more 20mph limits, in line with Brake's GO 20 campaign. He has been looking out for the safety of vulnerable road users in his constituency, including cyclists, with whom he took a cycling trip to see first-hand the inadequate provision of safe cycling facilities in the area.
Tim is now lending his support to recommendations made by Parliament's Transport Committee in its report on cycling, calling for government funding for safe cycling infrastructure to be increased to at least £10 per head by 2020. However, Tim believes this should be done now, not in six years, and believes Cumbria can lead the way. His support for safer cycling echoes calls made by Brake in its recent report with RSA.
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Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "We are delighted that Tim has focused on the vital importance of making his constituency's roads safer and that he is pushing for 20mph limits on many local roads. We're campaigning nationally for all our communities to 'GO 20' and for drivers to slow down in both built-up and rural areas, to make our streets safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling. We are pleased to give Tim this award and we hope he continues to promote road safety, given his senior position within his party."
Accepting his award, Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: "Road safety has always been an important issue for me. As we've seen with the tragic death of Gary Sharp, roads like the A684 are potentially dangerous to my constituents. After months of campaigning alongside local residents, we have convinced Cumbria County Council to rectify the problems along that road. I thank Brake for this award and I plan to continue my work to reduce speed limits around my constituency to 20mph and also to make sure there are safe and efficient vehicle and pedestrian paths."