Articles Tagged ‘cyclist - Brake the road safety charity’

Advice for cyclists

cyclistsgroup

Cycling is a great way to get around. It’s fun, healthy, good for the planet and cheaper than driving. But unfortunately it can be risky. In 2017, 101 cyclists were killed and 3,698 seriously injured in Britain. This is part of the reason why the UK lags behind many other countries for cycling levels: just 2% of journeys and 1% of miles in Britain are travelled by bike.

Brake campaigns for safer streets and routes for active and sustainable travel, including traffic free cycle routes and 20mph limits in communities through our Pace for People campaign to encourage uptake and protect people on bikes. Until we achieve this, the ultimate responsibility for protecting cyclists and pedestrians on our roads lies with drivers, who are operating a fastmoving machine that can cause a lot of damage. But there are steps cyclists can take to help reduce the risks they face. Read our advice for cyclists on taking the safest approach to getting about by bike.

- Why cycle?

- Getting started

- Travelling by bike

- Cycling on the road

- Cycling with children

Why cycle?

It’s healthy

Cycling is an excellent form of exercise. Incorporating physical exercise, such as cycling, into everyday life can be as effective for weight loss as a supervised exercise programme. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and obesity, and increases life expectancy. High blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression are also less frequent among people who exercise regularly, and cyclists in busy cities report better lung health than most other road users as they may experience pollution levels five times lower than drivers. Cycling to work, school or the shops is a great way to stay fit and in shape and feel good.

Modern bikes are lightweight and affordable (especially compared to running a car). Estimates suggest cycling costs riders around £396 per year, compared with the £3,727 annual cost of driving. They can also be fitted with panniers and baskets that can carry a surprising amount.

While the British weather can sometimes be intimidating to first-time cyclists, what looks like a drizzly and cold day from within a car can be refreshing on two wheels. You don’t have to get hot and sweaty, just ride at your own pace.

It’s environmentally friendly

Our society’s over-reliance on cars has major consequences for the environment and our health. More than a quarter of UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from road transport. It’s estimated that up to 29,000 deaths each year are a result of inhaling particulates, while nitrogen dioxide emissions are thought to contribute to around 24,000. Noise and fumes from traffic also impact on our ability to enjoy our local communities and countryside, and unless we act now, the amount of traffic on our roads is set to increase. By 2035, the amount of traffic travelling in congested conditions is predicted to double. Replacing some of our car journeys with cycling would make a big difference to this.

It’s cheap

You can get hold of a durable, road-worthy bicycle relatively cheaply. Maintaining a bike is of course much cheaper than running a car. It’s estimated that the average family could save £642 a year by swapping a car-based school run for walking or cycling. Commuters who drive or pay for a season pass for public transport could make significant savings by swapping to a cycle commute.

Meanwhile, driving is becoming increasingly expensive. More than a million car-owning households spend around a quarter of their disposable income on a motor vehicle, while the charity Sustrans estimates nearly half of households in England struggle with the cost of car ownership.

Getting started

Cycle training

If you aren’t a confident cyclist, or don’t have much experience on a bike, it’s a good idea to consider cycle training. There are cycle trainers across the UK offering training for children and adults – see Cycling UK’s . Some schools run cycle training courses for children, funded by the local authority, through schemes such as Bikeability. If you have children who want to cycle, speak to their school to see if it offers training. If it doesn’t, you could contact the local authority and ask it to support schools to provide training.

Wear a helmet

Brake strongly advises cyclists of all ages and levels of experience to wear a helmet. A helmet won’t offer you complete protection, and sadly helmets don’t prevent crashes happening in the first place – hence Brake campaigns for safer streets and safer driving. However, wearing a good quality, well-fitted cycle helmet does help to protect your brain in some types of crashes or if you fall off your bike and hit your head. Research shows that wearing one reduces your chances of suffering fatal or serious brain injuries in a crash. If you wear a helmet, always make sure you fit it according to the instructions and ensure it isn’t damaged.

Prepare your bike

It’s worthwhile learning the basics of bicycle maintenance if you want to begin cycling. This basic maintenance guide from the BBC is a good starting point. Whether your bike is new, second hand, or it’s been sat in your garage gathering dust, give it a thorough check before you start using it. Familiarising yourself with the mechanics will come in handy if you run into a problem while out cycling. For more in depth information on keeping your bike in good shape, see Bicycling’s maintenance guide.

Remember, it is illegal to cycle at night without lights, so if you are making a bicycle journey in the dark, or there is any chance you might be caught out as the sun goes down, test your lights before setting off. You must have a white light at the front, a red light at the back, red reflectors at the back and amber reflectors on the pedals.

Travelling by bike

Commuting by bike and cycling for work

cyclepath

Cycling to work is good for your health, the environment, and for your pocket, and it’s a great way to get the blood moving and wake the body up first thing in the morning. We recommend you use safe, off-road or segregated cycle paths for as much of your journey as you can, however we know this isn’t always possible. Cycling UK offers a guide to cycle routes that can help you to find safer places to cycle. If your commute is too far to cycle the whole way, you could take the train and cycle the journey to and from the station. See National Rail Enquiries’ information on taking bicycles on the rail network.

You could also check if your employer is signed up for the government’s cycle to work initiative, which allows you to purchase a new bike tax-free and pay monthly straight from your salary. If your employer hasn’t signed up, direct the relevant member of staff to details of benefits to employers of the initiative, and encourage them to sign up.

Using bicycles at work is becoming increasingly common in some professions. Couriers, police and paramedics are among workers who may cycle for work. If you are required to cycle as part of your job, ensure your employer has a robust safe cycling policy, covering: training; clothing; lighting; risk assessment of routes; pre-ride inspections; punctures; storage; theft; and insurance. If they don’t have a policy, talk to your manager.

Cycling to school

Brake advises that children younger than 10 should cycle on safe cycle paths, away from motorised traffic, and should always ride with a grown up. With the right guidance, and safe conditions, most secondary school children will be capable of cycling independently. However, heavy or fast moving traffic, lack of cycling facilities or unsuitable terrain for cycling often makes cycling to school unsafe or impractical.

Many UK schools will draw up a travel plan in partnership with their local authority to enable and encourage active, sustainable and safe travel to school. This includes identifying and working to address any barriers to children walking or cycling safely, including lack of cycling facilities. If you have concerns about your child (or you) being able to cycle safely to school, it’s a good idea to raise these with the school and local authority, and ask if this is to be addressed as part of the school travel plan.

Schools may also offer free cycle training to students through schemes such as Bikeability. Contact the school to see if they offer training, and to enrol your child if it is offered.

Cycling in your area

Do you automatically reach for the car keys when you need to go to the shops? How about when visiting friends or going to the cinema or gym? If destinations like this are within a couple of miles of where you live, consider hopping on a bike instead. Commuting or doing the school run by bike may not be practical for everybody, but most of us will have other opportunities to cycle. Cycling around your local area is a fun and easy way to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and enjoy your community or countryside. 35% of UK journeys of less than two miles are made by car. Many of these could be made by bicycle in less than 20 minutes, helping to reduce traffic volumes, pollution and danger, while allowing you to get fit and save money on petrol and parking.

If your local area doesn’t have suitable cycling facilities, use our community campaign guide to call for improved active and sustainable travel infrastructure in your area.

Take action: support the Place for people campaign.

Cycling on the road

We advise sticking to safe, off-road or segregated cycle paths as much as possible. However there may be times, especially on longer routes, where you will have to cycle on roads with other vehicles. If you are cycling on the road, be sure to stick to the following advice:

  • Choose the safest routes: where you do have to cycle on roads, quieter roads with less traffic, lower (preferably 20mph) speed limits and fewer parked cars and other hazards, are likely to be far safer. You should also consider junctions that are likely to be risky, like busy roundabouts, and either avoid these entirely or walk your bike across them on pavements, crossings or underpasses.
  • Stay vigilant: Look out for any potential hazards or obstructions ahead, such as bumps, pot holes and parked vehicles, and give yourself plenty of time to manoeuvre around them safely. Regularly look behind and to the sides so you are aware of what is happening on the road around you. When cycling past parked cars, leave extra space and watch out for doors being opened.
  • Road position: You should allow at least a metre between you and the kerb. Position yourself even further out from the kerb when on a road where it’s unsafe for a driver to pass you. Giving yourself plenty of distance from the kerb will also help you avoid cycling over drains, debris and other hazards found in or near the gutter.
  • Never pass on the inside: Never attempt to undertake a lorry or bus on the inside, especially at a junction, even if there is a cycle lane. Because of blind spots on large vehicles, the driver may not be able to see you if you pass on their left. It’s better to hold back and wait behind the vehicle. If you must overtake, do it on the right and allow plenty of space to pass safely, and beware of oncoming traffic.
  • Signal clearly: When changing lanes, turning, or any other similar manoeuvre, signal your intent clearly and well in advance so other road users know what you are going to do.
  • Use your lights: If you’re cycling in the dark or in poor visibility conditions you are required to have front and rear lights by law. We recommend you carry small spare lights in case the main lights stop working.

Cycling with children

Cycling with your kids is a great way to stay fit and enjoy some quality time together, while teaching them important road safety lessons. Brake recommends that children under 10 don’t cycle on roads. Many roads are unsafe for children, particularly fast and bendy rural roads and busy town roads without separate space for cyclists.

cycle4life 8

Some communities now have great cycling facilities, including separate paths for cyclists, which can be a great way for children to start enjoying the benefits of cycling while safe from traffic. Safe places to cycle (and have stress-free fun as a family) include off-road cycle trails, parks and many forests and country parks with specially created mountain biking areas and paths. In cities, velodromes often have indoor and outdoor facilities that are open to children of a certain age. Check your local council website for details of facilities in your area, or Cycling UK’s guide to cycle routes to find safe, off-road cycle paths.

You can also help your child gain experience through cycle training arranged through their school or the local authority. Even if it's not safe for them to cycle on local roads, this is helpful for them starting to gain experience, and great if you are planning a cycling holiday.

If your child cycles on roads, help them plan the safest possible routes making use of traffic-free paths and quiet, slow roads, and teach them the importance of following the advice above. Tell them to get off and walk their bike on the pavement if they have to negotiate any busy junctions.

Carrying pre-schoolers

There is a huge range of products on the market designed to transport children by bike, from front- and rear-mounted child seats, to trailers, tag-alongs and tow bars. The best option for you may depend on several factors:

  • your own experience and fitness;
  • number of children;
  • the size and age of the children;
  • the type of route and surface;
  • traffic levels and danger; and
  • the distance you are planning to ride.

If you can, try before you buy. Most cycle shops stock a variety of bikes and child-seat accessories that you can test out with your children.

Be aware that child carriers increase the size of your bike, alter the balance, and can make manoeuvring more challenging. Child seats on bikes aren’t safety seats with crash protection, and uncovered seats offer no protection from the elements either – a child who is not pedalling can get very cold or sunburnt so ensure they are well wrapped up or are wearing suncream, depending on the weather.

Trailers place your child at the level of vehicles’ wheels and exhaust fumes, and therefore Brake does not recommend they are used on roads, although they can be great on off-road, well-surfaced cycle trails.

 


Page updated October 2018

 

Brake and First Group

Brake have supported First Group with a number of community engagement events with the aim of putting road safety as a top priority for both First bus drivers and passengers. 
Brake and First ran an exchanging places event in the centre of Media City in Salford. The idea behind this was to develop an understanding between First bus drivers and cyclists in Manchester. The cyclists were asked to sit in the cab of the bus and were made aware of the blind spots.With the support of Brake, First have also ran a number of community events. First have been out and about in various city centres throughout the partnership including Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, York and Rotherham to promote their commitment to road safety.
Brake have also facilitated a number of school visits for First's community engagement teams to educate pupils on Road Safety.  Within the partnership, First also invited their staff to attend breakfast briefings with the aim of highlighting awareness of vulnerable road users. Through posters and presentations, First stressed the important role drivers have in ensuring pedestrians and cyclists can use the roads safely. 

RSW theme and bus 6

 

 

Brake comments on cycling offence announcement

News from Brake
Friday, 9 March 2018
 
The Department for Transport has published a report that finds there is a strong case for changing the law to tackle the issue of dangerous and careless cycling that causes injury or death. If this were to be introduced, it would bring cycling in line with driving offences.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Delivering justice for those who have lost a loved one on our roads is vitally important. Whether a crash was caused by a bike or a car makes no difference to the families devastated by such loss and so we welcome the move by the Government to provide parity in the law.”
 
The publication of the report comes alongside a call for evidence on the Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. This is part of the Government’s drive to make cycling and walking safer, while encouraging more people to take up cycling at all ages.
 
Mr Harris said: “Getting more journeys to be taken by bike or by foot, rather than by car, can deliver significant personal and public health benefits. Brake welcomes this opportunity to improve the road environment for cyclists and pedestrians and urges the Government to not shy away from the big decisions, such as implementing and enforcing safer speed limits.”
 
A Brake and Direct Line report [1], published yesterday (Thursday 8 March), found that drivers are deterred from choosing to cycle by the nature of the current road environment. Drivers stated that the 60mph speed limit on single-carriageway A roads is too fast to assure the safety of cyclists and that both the warning signs and space available for cyclists are inadequate.
 
Drivers have called on the Government to address these concerns by investing in building segregated, tarmacked cycle paths alongside the single-carriageway A road network, prioritising this above any expansion of the road itself. Brake and Direct Line’s report finds that such investment would significantly increase the numbers of those cycling, as whilst 70 per cent of drivers state that they currently never cycle on single-carriageway A roads, more than half state that they would be persuaded to if there was a demarcated space for cyclists.
 
Mr Harris said: “Contrary to popular opinion, drivers have told us that they are willing to switch modes and cycle if safe facilities are available. We echo this call and urge the Government to prioritise investment in safe, segregated cycle routes.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake comments on plans to revise Highway Code for cyclist and pedestrian safety

News from Brake
Thursday 18 November
 
The government has announced that it is set to review guidance on how road users should behave in relation to cyclists and pedestrians. The new Highway Code will highlight how to avoid the dangers of close passing, and encourage people to adopt the ‘Dutch reach’, a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest from the handle, to force drivers to look over their shoulder for passing traffic.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
"For far too long, the rules of our roads have prioritised motor vehicles over cycling and walking. This has resulted in a vicious circle of increased risk for pedestrians and cyclists, fewer people opting to walk or cycle, and limited government investment - not to mention the devastating impact on public health and the environment. We applaud the Government’s planned changes to the Highway Code as a welcome step in the right direction, but more must still be done. We need safer speed limits, greater investment in segregated cycle lanes and a justice system which keeps dangerous drivers off our roads.”
 
“Today’s announcement is timely, arriving a month ahead of Road Safety Week where communities across the UK will be shouting about the need for everyone to be “Bike Smart”. Those travelling on two wheels are among our most vulnerable road users and everyone can play a role in helping keep them safe from harm.”
 
[ENDS]
 
 
Notes to editors:
[1] Road Safety Week is coordinated by Brake and will be held from 19-25 November. This year’s theme is “Bike Smart”, and communities and campaigners across the country will be shouting about the safety of those on two wheels. More at Brake’s website here - http://roadsafetyweek.org.uk/
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across East Midlands is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the East Midlands every six minutes
  • One third (32%) of primary school children in the Midlands have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen daily on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The campaign is being backed by a bereaved family from the East Midlands, where 148 people were killed and 1,731 seriously injured last year. See case study below.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, companies and communities will be raising awareness and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 89,829 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the East Midlands in 2013– one every six minutes. 88,499 were for speeding and 1,330 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of over 400 Midlands primary school children[4], released today, show:

  • four in five (82%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • one third (32%) have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

 Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.”

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other; being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Weekhere.

Timothy Igoea, 45, from Heighington, Lincolnshire,was crossing the road on a spring day when he was hit on the back of the head by a van wing mirror. He subsequently died in hospital. Find out more.

Timothy’s brother, Gary Igoea, lives in Lincoln. He says:“Tim’s death affected everybody in so many different ways. He was a truly special man; there are not many people you will meet in life like him. There was a strength about him that would dumbfound anyone, especially after his first crash; he almost pushed his disabilities to one side in his determination. I am so proud to have had a brother like Tim – when most people would have crumbled, he stayed strong. He had an incredible passion for life and he was taken from us and his family too early. That’s why, this Road Safety Week, I want to tell people that when you get into a car, it’s like holding a loaded gun: you have the power to destroy both the life of the victim and the lives of their family and friends. So please, look out for each other, don’t be complacent, and be courteous on the road.”

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Thereforeit is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 433 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the Midlands participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 82% said yes, 18% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 32% said yes, 68% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across East of England is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the East of England every five minutes
  • Two in five (38%) primary school children in the East of England have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen daily on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. In the East of England region, 178 people were killed and 2,191 seriously injured last year.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, companies and communities will be raising awareness and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 98,084 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the East of England in 2013 – one every five minutes. 96,116 were for speeding and 1,968 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of 400 primary school children in the East region[4], released today, show:

  • three in five (63%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • two in five (38%) have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.” 

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0.These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 358 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the East of England participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 63% said yes, 37% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 38% said yes, 62% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across North East is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the North East every 11 minutes
  • Half (49%) of primary school children in the North East say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The campaign is being backed by a bereaved family from the North East, where 76 people were killed and 726 seriously injured last year. See case study below.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, communities and companies will be raising awareness, and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 46,359 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the North East in 2013– one every 11 minutes. 45,823 were for speeding and 536 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of 400 primary school children in the North East[4], released today, show:

  • three in five (59%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • half (49%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

That’s why Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.”

Cllr Michael Mordey, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, added:“While the number of road casualties year on year has remained similar, a key indicator of road safety is the number of serious casualties – and in Sunderland, we have seen some pleasing reductions recently. However, as we can see from Steven's tragic story, there is no room for complacency. We are working with our partners in the emergency and health services and other stakeholders and interest groups to learn what we can from the causes and trends in order to ensure we reduce casualties further. Safety is the responsibility of every road user, so we remind all drivers, riders, passengers, pedestrians and professional drivers to think about safety at all times.”

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Weekhere.

Steven Atkinson, 12, from Sunderland, was pushing his bike across Chester Road in 2009 when he was hit by a speeding driver. He was rushed to hospital, where he died from his injuries.Find out more.

 

Violet Atkinson, Steven’s mother, says:“After everything Steven went through, I am so proud of him. He never looked at his health as a problem and lived every day to the full. No words can describe the grief our family has gone through since his death. There’s a piece of us missing and there’s no way to escape that. My son is gone. I will never see him again, and it will never get easier. I don’t want another mother to experience the pain of seeing her child die. People need to wake up to the consequences of driving irresponsibly. This year’s Road Safety Week, I’m asking everyone to look out for each other on the road, and in particular for drivers to slow down to 20mph in communities, look twice and take it slow at junctions and bends, and give pedestrians and cyclists plenty of room.’’

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 417 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the North East participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 59% said yes, 41% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 49% said yes, 51% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across UK is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Note: this is the national version of this release. Click here for versions specific to your region or specialist audience.

  • Two fixed penalties for 'careless driving' or speeding issued every minute
  • Two in five (41%) UK primary school children say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which police across the country will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of UK drivers senselessly risking lives by flouting traffic laws. Almost one million fixed penalty notices were issued for 'careless driving' and speeding offences in 2013 –almost two a minute. 950,505 were for speeding and 17,483 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by region and postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas [3].

This lack of patience and consideration towards other road users can and does result in tragedy (see case studies below). It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake's survey of 5,000 primary school children [4], released today, show:

  • two thirds (67%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • two in five (41%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

That's why Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect people on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for the look out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don't look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That's why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we're asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we're all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes."

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers' national lead for roads policing, added: "Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake's week."

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying: "Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and improving safety is an absolute priority for this government. Cycling and walking are both great exercise and benefit our environment and economy, and I want more people to feel safe on our roads.

"This is why we have made significant investments in road safety and improved education resources for schools, made it easier for councils to introduce 20mph zones and increased fixed penalties for driving offences."

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented: "A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says: "Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, 'look out for each other'. But 'looking out for each other' isn't just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it's about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road."

Facts and advice:

'Vulnerable road users' (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders) account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver's speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can't, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates [7], and drivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash [8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won't notice a difference in your journey time. You'll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it's safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it's a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer [13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error [14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, at www.brake.org.uk/pledge

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Week here.
Iris Yee and Gary Igoea will be at the national launch and available for interview. Caroline MacIntyre will be at the Edinburgh launch and is available for pre-recorded interviews.

Lidia Zoetemelk, 42, from London, was travelling to work on her 50cc scooter in south east London when she was hit by a turning truck. She was killed instantly. Find out more.

Lidia's partner, Iris Yee, says: "Lidia's death was a shock to everyone who knew her. To have someone so young, with such a vibrant zest and energy for life, die so tragically and unexpectedly, has been devastating. My world collapsed when she was killed. We were on the brink of starting the next chapter of our lives. We had so much to look forward to, with so many exciting plans and dreams. I have no anger towards the driver of the vehicle for what happened, but I do want to help prevent more tragedies. Lidia often commuted to work by moped or bicycle. She was one of many vulnerable road users. This is why I'm supporting Road Safety Week. More has to be done to prevent deaths like Lidia's, especially improving visibility for drivers of large vehicles, and persuading all drivers to slow down and keep careful look out for people on foot and bike. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, especially the most vulnerable road users.''

 


Jason MacIntyre, 34, from Fort William, was a well-known Scottish racing cyclist. He was hit by a van while on his bike on 15 January 2008 and died on the way to hospital. Find out more.

Caroline MacIntyre, Jason's wife, says: "The crash has had a catastrophic impact on our lives; it is with us on a daily basis, not only for me, but for our daughters. It has been seven years since the crash and it never gets easier. I'm not sure it's fully sunk in for any of us yet. As an up and coming cycling star he had lots of supporters who were also devastated. He was the most incredible husband and father throughout the difficulties we had with our daughter Morgan being in intensive care, and he put his family above anything. It is devastating for me to be bringing up our children without their father. It takes just a few moments to double check for vulnerable road users like Jason on his bike, and a moment of impatience can cost someone their life. Is that something you can live with on your conscience? So my message to drivers is please, slow down and take your time to look out for people – don't risk destroying lives.''

 


Timothy Igoea, 44, from Heighington, Lincolnshire, was crossing the road on a spring day when he was hit on the back of the head by a van wing mirror. He subsequently died in hospital. Find out more.

Timothy's brother, Gary Igoea, lives in Lincoln. He says: "Tim's death affected everybody in so many different ways. He was a truly special man; there are not many people you will meet in life like him. There was a strength about him that would dumbfound anyone, especially after his first crash; he almost pushed his disabilities to one side in his determination. I am so proud to have had a brother like Tim – when most people would have crumbled, he stayed strong. He had an incredible passion for life and he was taken from us and his family too early. That's why, this Road Safety Week, I want to tell people that when you get into a car, it's like holding a loaded gun: you have the power to destroy both the life of the victim and the lives of their family and friends. So please, look out for each other, don't be complacent, and be courteous on the road."

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK's flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/ 

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 4,787 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools across the UK participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 67% said yes, 33% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 41% said yes, 59% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across West Midlands is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the West Midlands every six minutes
  • A third (32%) of primary school children in the Midlands say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The campaign is being backed by bereaved families from the West Midlands, where 156 people were killed and 1,642 seriously injured last year. Case studies below.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, communities and companies are raising awareness, and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers senselessly risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 94,225 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the West Midlands in 2013– one every six minutes. 92,732 were for speeding and 1,493 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of 400 primary school children in the Midlands[4], released today, show:

  • four in five (82%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • a third (32%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.”

Ross Stephenson, road casualty reduction team manager, West Midlands Fire Service, said:“Our main aim is to reduce the number of people, especially young people, being killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions across the West Midlands. Over the past few years, West Midlands Fire Service has fully supported Brake’s Road Safety Week and we are pleased to have been given the opportunity to launch this year’s event in the West Midlands. We want the ‘look out for each other’ message to educate as many drivers, passengers and pedestrians as possible. We are urging drivers to slow down and for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to be fully alert to what is happening around them at all times.”

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Weekhere.

Sarah Child, 26, from Great Barr, Birmingham, a daughter, sister and aunt-to-be, was killed by a speeding driver while crossing the road with her heavily pregnant sister, Claire. Find out more.

Avril Child, Sarah’s mother, says: ‘’Sarah was a kind, beautiful daughter, who loved life and had lots of things she wanted to do. She loved her family more than anything. She lived with Claire in a house divided into two flats – so Claire not only lost her sister, and was herself seriously injured, but she also lost her home – all before having her daughter, Evie Mae. This tragedy has turned our world upside down, all because of somebody not taking the care and attention to slow down or see my poor daughters crossing the street. There is nothing that can bring Sarah back, but I hope just one person reads this and it makes them re-think how they drive to prevent more road casualties. I hope that everyone looks out for each other following this year’s Road Safety Week, and in particular that drivers will slow down to 20mph in communities, look twice and take it slow at junctions and bends, and are considerate to vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists.’’


 

Nicholas Andrews, 17, from Redditch,was hit by a car while walking along a grass verge to go to the shop. Hesuffered serious head injuries and died in hospital five days later. Find out more.

Helen Andrews, Nicholas’ sister, says:“Nicholas’s death has been horrendous for me and my family. We think about him every day. He was the best big brother anyone could ever ask for. He was so popular, funny and kind, and he could always make you laugh even if you felt like the world was ending – which, for me, it did when he died. The house was so empty and silent. I hated it. This huge personality, this beautiful person with the most wonderful smile, was gone. This Road Safety Week, we are asking all drivers to be as vigilant as possible to protect others. I always take care to look out for cyclists and pedestrians when I am driving as they can easily make mistakes, which they don’t deserve to die for.”

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and people around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 433 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the Midlands participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 82% said yes, 18% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 32% said yes, 68% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake responds to Cycling and Walking consultation.

Department for Transport consultation on cycling and walking investment strategy

Response from Brake, the road safety charity, May 2015

Brake’s position on cycling and walking investment

Brake welcomes this consultation and its acknowledgement that further investment in cycling and walking is essential. Currently a quarter of car journeys (23%) are less than two miles[i], a distance which can easily be covered on foot or by bike.

Brake believes road safety isn’t solely about driving safely and within the law. It’s also about making our streets safe and pleasant for everyone to use freely, and doing everything we can to protect ourselves and people around us, especially vulnerable road users. A big part of that is providing infrastructure that not only encourages active travel but also protects those who walk and cycle from the dangers on our roads.

Brake has more than 20 years’ experience in the road safety and sustainable transport field and can point to policies that can be deployed to try to increase the numbers walking and cycling address the issue of inactivity and.

On the basis of Brake’s experience in road safety, Brake recommends

• Reducing the urban speed limit 20mph, instead of 30mph. This is in line with evidence that shows reducing speed limits lowers casualty numbers amongst those who cycle and walk.
• Implementing more segregated cycle ways. This is in line with evidence that shows that the injury risk to cyclists reduces significantly.
• Create and invest in improved infrastructure that benefits cycling and walking both in the long term and the short term.
• Create new routes that encourage cycling and walking.

Some key evidence supporting these recommendations includes:

• The implementation of bike lanes has been shown to cut injury risk to cyclists by 50%, dedicated bike lanes cut injury risk to cyclists significantly more, by 90%[ii].
• A trial of 20mph limits in Warrington, Cheshire, found pedestrian and cyclist casualties dropped 36%[iii] and analysis of 75 20mph limit sites in Scotland found casualties dropped 42%[iv].
• Walking and cycling levels rose by up to 12% in Bristol after a 20mph limit was introduced[v].
• 20mph limits boost the economic sustainability of local areas. Safer areas for walking and cycling are seen as more desirable areas to live, boosting local businesses and increasing the value of homes in these areas[vi].
• Fear of traffic can also discourage people from walking or cycling. A Brake survey found one in three non-cyclists (35%) would cycle their commute if routes were safer[vii].
• A YouGov poll commissioned by British Cycling revealed that 71% of people support building cycle tracks on main roads[viii].

Question One: The Government would be interested to hear views on the approach and actions set out in section 8 of this strategy

The three themes mentioned in section 8 which will deliver the ambition of the government, could be improved significantly. On Better Safety, there needs to be more done to ensure policing of speed limits are enforces by the police – this is proving to be more difficult as numbers of traffic offices have decreased significantly since 2008, by nearly 12% in the United Kingdom[ix]. With better policed roads and lower limits – cyclists and pedestrians would feel safer and more inclined to choose forms of active travel than using their cars.

On Better Mobility, more needs to be done to integrate all forms of transport to promote active travel. Not only does the Government have to do more to promote cycling and walking – more needs to be done to integrate public transport with active travel with all public transport stations requiring more cycle spaces and the right environments that makes active travel more appealing.

Finally, with Better Streets, there needs to be serious thought given to town and street planning, to create an environment for all road users and not just cars as there has been in the past.

The most important point to take from the strategies outlined in section 8 is that what has been outlined requires appropriate funding nationwide. The United Kingdom has one of the lowest usages of cycles in Europe as the main mode of transport, only six nations in Europe rank lower[x]. Without appropriate funding, more than the £316million[xi] promised over the next five years, then it is likely that the targets outlines will be missed and the United Kingdom will continue to lag behind the more forward thinking European nations.

Question Three: The Government would be interested to hear suggestions and evidence of innovative projects and programmes which could be developed to deliver the objectives outlined in Section 4.

For the objectives set out in section four to be achieved, the focus must be on consulting local residents and those who cycle and walk on their own needs. There certainly is an appetite for cycling and walking, especially on shorter journeys. In recent surveys conducted by Brake we found that three in four parents (74%) say their family would walk more if the safety of nearby roads was improved[xii] and three in four school children (76%) would like to walk and cycle more, but more than half (56%) worry they might be run over when walking or cycling on roads[xiii].

A recent survey by Churchill Insurance indicated 35% of parents felt road safety at their local school had worsened in the past five years. To improve safety on roads around schools, through cycle lanes, 20mph speed limits and improved crossings would ensure that more school children would use active travel in their daily routine to get to school.

Furthermore, Britain ranked 23rd for progress in tackling cycling deaths over the period between 2003 and 2013, seeing a fall of less than 3%[xiv]. Without appropriate funding, planning and strategy the desire to double cycling activity by 2025 will falter. Whilst the appetite is there for an increase in participation in active travel, the funding is not and perhaps more of the funding that has been ring-fenced for road projects needs to be redistributed to ensure a safer environment to encourage walking and cycling.

Question Four: The Government would be interested to hear your views on how to increase cycling and walking in typically under-represented groups (for example women, older people, or those from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds

Brake believes that participation in walking and cycling by under-represented groups would be increased by making urban speed limits 20mph. As evidence mentioned earlier shows, roads are safer for cyclists and pedestrians with the lower limit and more people are inclined to walk or cycle more as they feel safer. This is especially the case among the most vulnerable in our society such as older people, children and parents with young children.

As for targeting those from different ethnic backgrounds the impetus should be on getting underrepresented groups into cycling and walking when they are young; educating them on the benefits and in the case of cycling – teaching them in schools. The Bikeability scheme, which has seen nearly two million people trained, would be the ideal resource to use as it could be rolled out to schools with a diverse ethnic background.

One further way that under-represented groups could be encouraged into cycling is through Bike Libraries. The scheme that was launched in Yorkshire as part of the legacy of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014 has seen 31 bike libraries created across the county, providing a place where people can give away their old and unused bikes to be loaned out to those who need them. This would be ideal in deprived areas and in areas from differing background who may not get an opportunity to own, use or learn to ride a bike.

[i] National Travel Survey 2014, Department for Transport, 2015
[ii] American Journal of Public Health, 2012.
[iii] 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[iv] 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001
[v] Greater Bristol Cycling City, Bristol City Council, 2011
[vi] Motor Vehicle Speeds: Recommendations for Urban Sustainability, Transportation Research Board, 2012
[vii] Commuters call for safer streets for cycling, to enable more to get on their bikes, Brake 2015
[viii] New poll reveals overwhelming public support for new cycling infrastructure, British Cycling 2016

[ix] Research briefing: levels of traffic police 2008-2012 in GB, Brake, 2013
[x] UK ranked Europe's 10th Most Cycle Friendly Nation, Road.cc, 2013
[xi] Time for action on clean air, Sustrans, 2016
[xii] Bereaved family back Beep Beep! initiative for safer roads for kids as survey reveals parents’ fears from fast traffic, Brake and Churchill, 2012
[xiii] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake and webuyanycar.com, 2014
[xiv] Making Walking and Cycling on Europe’s roads safer, European Transport Safety Council, 2015.

 

Brake's Giant Walk 2015 - what happened

On 10 June 2015 tens of thousands of children from hundreds of primary schools across the UK walked for safer roads, to encourage drivers to GO 20 around schools, homes and shops to protect children and other cyclists and pedestrians. The event also promoted the benefits of walking and cycling, and raised awareness of the fact that in the UK every day four children are seriously hurt or killed while walking.

A big thank you to all the schools that took part, helping to teach pupils about road danger and the benefits of sustainable, active travel, promoting road safety to parents and drivers in the wider community, and raising valuable funds for Brake.

See below for examples of what our star schools in 2015 did on the day, and see more pictures on our facebook page.

E Little Plumstead Primary School 2Little Plumstead Primary School in Norfolkhad a whole school assembly where they learned about car stopping distances and some road safety basics, before setting off on their Giant Walk. Older children paired up with the younger ones to walk through the streets around the school, and parents stayed to watch the very long crocodile of children carrying banners they had made at home. Over 200 children took part, and raised an amazing £507.50 on the day.

 

Ripley Junior School in Derbyshire had aEM Ripley Junior School 2 great afternoon of activities which included road safety talks in class, before hitting the streets with local police and parents also getting involved. They managed to raise a fantastic£668.03 to support Brake’s campaigns for safer roads and to support bereaved and injured victims of road crashes.

 

 

NE Barmston Village School 1 resizedBarmston Village Primary School in Sunderland incorporated their Giant Walk into their Health and Safety Week activities, where they learned how to keep themselves safe through road safety talks in class, and roleplaying in the playground. Children dressed as police officers and directed the others on bikes and scooters around road crossings drawn on the playground, baked traffic light biscuits, and drew pictures of all the fun things they had done to take home.

 

NW Trinity St Peters 2 resized250 children from Trinity St Peter's in Merseyside raised a brilliant £341.59, using their Giant Walk to initiate aparking pledge with the local community: allowing parents to park on unoccupied driveways. Alongside the walk and road safety talks in class, the children created and displayed a massive banner highlighting the importance of road safety outside their school.

SperrinviewSperrinview Special School in County Tyrone invited their local police officer to speak to children about the importance of road safety, who then escorted them on their Giant Walk. The school is on an extremely busy road, with many drivers going at 40mph, so the children made and carried posters encouraging them to GO20. The school also raised a fantastic £338 for Brake alongside their walk.

 

Aboyne Primary School in Aberdeenshire were the top fundraisers this year, raising an amazing £1296.34. They made banners to take on their Giant Walk, and calledfor safer roads in their community and around the school grounds when dropping off and collecting children.

SE Gresham Primary School 1Parents, volunteers and staff joined 240 children atGresham Primary School in Croydon for aRoad Safety afternoon packed with fun activities, including the local road safety officers from the council joining the children for an assembly. After roleplaying on road crossings they drew on the playground, the children headed out for their Giant Walk, chanting slogans and rhymes, and raising £65.30.

 

 

 

Children of all ages at Woolacombe School in Devon got involved in classroom activities before the Giant Walk, from Year 6 studying graphs in maths lessons, to Year 4 making road safety leaflets to share with the younger children. The older children also joined thePolice Liaison Officer for a speed workshop, using a speed gun outside the school to stop speeding drivers. Younger children made placards and banners for the walk, and the school raised £94.60 on a 'Wear Something Bright' day.

WM St Brigids Catholic Primary School 3 resizedSt Brigid's Catholic Primary School in Birmingham used their Giant Walk as an opportunity to involve the whole school community in the School Council's ongoing campaign for a reduced speed limit outside the school. Before the walk, the school councillors conducted a road safety survey and collected signatures on a petition to enforce a 20mph speed limit. They also held a protest which was supported by local councillor Steve Booton, and representatives from their MP Richard Burden's office. On the day of their Giant Walk, the children made banners and posters to carry, and were joined by their local community police officer, and raised a brilliant £430.14.

Shortbrook Primary School in Sheffield invited parents to join their children on a walk to the local park, where they hada huge family picnic. The fantastic event got the whole school involved, with children from nursery to Year 6 joining the Giant Walk, and raised an amazing £806.83 for Brake.

Brake's Giant Walk 2016 - what happened

On 15 June 2016 over 25,000 children from schools across the UK walked for safer roads, to encourage drivers to GO 20 around schools, homes and shops to protect children and other cyclists and pedestrians. The event also promoted the benefits of walking and cycling, and raised awareness of the fact that in the UK every day four children are seriously hurt or killed while walking.

A big thank you to all the schools that took part, helping to teach pupils about road danger and the benefits of sustainable, active travel, promoting road safety to parents and drivers in the wider community, and raising valuable funds for Brake.

See below for examples of what our star schools in 2016 did on the day, see more pictures on our facebook page and follow @Brakecharity and use #BrakesGiantWalk on Twitter!

Read our full report on Brake's Giant Walk 2016

 

 

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The children at St John the Baptist C of E Primary School in Penistone had lots of fun showing off their posters as they walked around the local village. A local councillor and staff from their local Tesco store also joined them, encouraging drivers to slow down and supporting their message of not driving to school. Check them out in action in our 2016 video.

 

  

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Pupils and parents from St John’s C of E Primary School in Harrow, London, joined forces to campaign for safer roads in their community. The children made their own placards and raised awareness in their local community, encouraging drivers to slow down. Teachers said they found it a really positive experience, bringing the school communities together to help raise awareness of road safety. Fantastically, alongside all of their hard work they raised more than £1000 for Brake!

 

 

 

  

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Brake’s mascot Zak the Zebra joined more than 300 children from Neilston Primary School in Scotland. They learned about how to be safe on their walk before meeting up with another school and holding a mini road show. A local police officer talked about the importance of road safety and school principal teacher Jane McDermott said “Watching the children out in the village gives a great feeling of togetherness and community as well as promoting the importance of road safety.

 

 

giantwalk dunstableAt St Augustine’s Academy, Bedfordshire, in partnership with Dunstable Town Council, the children played road safety games and discussed how to be safe when crossing the road. They then created their own posters and used these, along with Brake’s, to take to the streets during a long two-mile walk to raise awareness of road safety in their local community. The children enjoyed using their posters to communicate important messages about slowing down to drivers and the young people who participated on the walk continued to learn about road safety at Junior Wardens - an after school programme.

  

 

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Lots of laughs and fun was had at the 11th Walsall Rainbows in West Midlands. The girls really enjoyed learning about road safety all term and completed their road safety badge. They also made posters which they showed their parents and told them the importance of being safe on the roads. They loved getting their stickers for completing the walk and found the resources really informative.

  

 

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River Beach Primary School didn’t let the soggy weather dampen their walk as they met in the morning and all walked to school together, campaigning for drivers to slow down. They were met at the school gates by their teachers, congratulating them on their walk before dispersing into class to continue their school day.

 

 

 

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400 children took part at Carnmoney Primary School in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, who managed to raise a wonderful £381.60! Alongside their walk around the community where they campaigned for safer roads, they held different road safety activities within class. They also had a poster colouring competition and the winner got theirs made into a placard to carry on their walk!

 

 

 

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Barmston Village School went on their walk outside of their school gates so that the local community in Durham could notice them. They took their ‘slow down’ banners, having lots of fun spreading the message of being safe around roads. In class they made their own posters on the different issues surrounding road safety and the importance of drivers slowing down on their roads.

 

 

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In Liverpool, over 1000 children took part in road safety activities which emphasised the importance of St Margaret Mary’s Catholic Infant and Junior School’s Giant Walk. School Council Representatives met and discussed ideas to raise awareness of road safety prior to the event. A competition was launched to design the best road safety poster; these posters were used on the day to encourage drivers in their community to slow down. The children also had lots of fun chanting and making their voices heard. They even had their parents out campaigning while they stood opposite the school with their own posters and banners and invited families to complete a ‘Family Road Safety Pledge’ to show how everyone works together to ensure their children’s safety.

 

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Red Oaks Primary School in Wiltshire took what they’d learnt throughout the year on road safety and incorporated it into their walk. Alongside their lessons on road safety and discussion on how to be safe and be seen in assembly, they took to the streets to tell drivers to slow down. They also raised £209.92 to help continue Brake’s work.

 

 

 

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Local police officers visited Gayton Junior School in Derby on their Giant Walk to help their 360 children cross the road. The children’s parents also joined in, helping to raise awareness of the importance of slowing down. In preparation for their walk, the children made informative posters and discussed road safety in class. They raised a fantastic £115.15 for Brake!

Cheaper, greener, healthier, quicker..? Brake says “get on your bike” this Cycle to Work Day

news@brake.org.uk

Despite cycling being one of the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally-friendly forms of transport available, the UK lags way behind many other countries when it comes to cycling levels. That’s why Brake is backing this year’s Cycle to Work Day taking place on Wednesday 14 September.

The latest Department for Transport National Travel Survey found that in Britain only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike. A study by the European Commission in 2010 found that just 2% of people aged 15 and over in the UK use a bicycle as their main form of transport – the seventh lowest level in Europe.

Cycle to Work Day's long-term aim is to see one million people regularly commuting by bike by 2021, so Brake is encouraging everyone who is able, to consider getting on their bike to give it a try.

A lack of safe cycling routes may be a key reason for the lack of cycling in the UK. A survey of UK drivers by Brake and Direct Line indicated that almost four in 10 (39%) non-cyclists could be persuaded to cycle if there were more cycle routes and trails connecting their home to local facilities.[i]

Brake is urging the government to invest more money into making cycling safer to encourage more people to get about by bike – not just once a year, but regularly. This would not only benefit individuals financially but improve the environment and our communities, by reducing the number of cars and harmful vehicle emissions. Transport accounts for a fifth (21%) of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with road transport making up the most significant proportion of this.[ii]

Increased cycling can also significantly improve people’s health. Currently, physical inactivity accounts for one in six deaths in the UK, with half of women and a third of men damaging their health due to lack of physical activity. Office workers are particularly at risk: sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day increases your risk of an early death by 60%. The good news is that one hour’s activity a day is enough to reverse this damage.[iii]

Regular cycling is suggested by the NHS as a means to lose weight, reduce stress, reduce the likelihood of depression and improve fitness: an 80kg (12st 9lb) person will burn more than 650 calories with an hour’s riding.[iv] Improved health from cycling would also benefit the economy; deaths due to physical inactivity are believed to cost the wider economy £7.4 billion.[v]

Encouraging more people to cycle could also improve safety further due to fewer motor vehicles. Almost all road deaths and serious injuries are caused at least in part by the actions of drivers,[vi] so if individuals drive less or not at all, it means they pose less danger to others.

Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “Everybody wins when we all cycle more. Our communities are cleaner, greener and safer, and our bank balances and bodies are healthier too. The more we do it, the greater these improvements will be. Brake is encouraging everyone who is able to, to try cycling this Wednesday (today). We also want the government to do much more to make our streets safer for cyclists so more of us will make this a daily and not a yearly choice.”

Notes to Editors:

More on Cycle to Work Day here: https://www.cycletoworkday.org/

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Cyclists

cyclistCycling is the environmental solution to urban traffic problems and also brilliant for your health - unless you are knocked off your bike of course. On many roads there are enormous risks to cyclists from lack of cycling paths and speeding traffic, particularly on rural roads and in town. Children in particular are often not allowed out on their bikes due to traffic danger, leading to obesity and lack of independence.

Brake supports many families whose loved one has been killed on their bike.

Get involved in Brake's campaign in government for slower speed limits and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. Find out more...

Read our advice for cyclists on our Cycle for life pages...

Fundraise for Brake's campaigns and support services by organising a sponsored bike ride in aid of the charity. Find out more...

In association with:

brainandspinalinjuries.co.uk

Cyclists urged to go bright for safer roads in Road Safety Week

Brake, the road safety charity

8 August 2012
Tel: 01484 559909 Email: news@brake.org.uk

 

Cyclists are being encouraged to help raise awareness about the importance of protecting people on bikes and foot by hosting a Bright Day during Road Safety Week (19-25 November), the UK's flagship road safety event, coordinated by the charity Brake. It's a brilliant opportunity for cycling-enthusiasts to don their favourite high-vis gear, promote life-saving awareness and raise funds for a worthwhile cause.

Brake's theme for Road Safety Week 2012 is 'Slower speeds = happy people'. Brake will be emphasising the importance of making it safer for people to walk and cycle in their communities, for their health and enjoyment and as a sustainable transport choice. Brake will be calling for action from authorities to make walking and cycling safer, and appealing to drivers to slow down to 20mph in communities and look out for people on foot and bikes. Read more.

Road Safety Week is about thousands of communities, schools and organisations taking action on road safety, and there are lots of simple ways to get involved. Anyone can register now to get a free e-action pack with resources, guidance and ideas at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.

Brake is particularly calling on cyclists to run a Bright Day in their workplace or community, where everyone wears bright clothes and makes a donation to Brake. The event helps raise awareness about the importance of drivers looking out for pedestrians and cyclists. It's the perfect excuse for cyclists to wear their neon and reflective gear with pride, and funds raised help Brake's work campaigning for safer roads and caring for families bereaved and injured in road crashes.

Brake deputy chief executive Julie Townsend says: ""Road Safety Week is a great opportunity to work together to make our streets safer, greener, more pleasant places. We believe people should be able to walk and cycle without their lives being endangered by traffic. We'll be calling on authorities to do more to protect people on foot and bike, and calling on drivers to make a difference by slowing down. We're encouraging cyclists everywhere to join this vital campaign, by registering now on the Road Safety Week website to get ideas and free resources."

"Organising a Bright Day is a great way to get involved in the UK's biggest road safety event, have fun, raise awareness, and raise funds. It's a simple way to promote a critical message, encouraging drivers to look out for and be considerate towards pedestrians and cyclists, including slowing down so they have more chance to react."

Go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk and click on the communities section for more.

About Brake

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 65 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (19-25 November 2012), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are man-made, preventable, violent events that devastate lives. Brake does not use the term accidents because it undermines work to reduce road risk and causes insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by road death or injury.

Direct Line Group Lesson Plan

 

Props – Take a sturdy toy truck that rolls in a straight line, and a torch.  Today we’re going to talk about ROAD SAFETY.

I’m going to start by telling you something really sad. Every day seven children are very badly hurt by traffic on roads in this country while those children are walking or on bikes. We’ve all fallen down and hurt our knees haven’t we? Children who are hurt on our roads are much more badly hurt than that. Some are so badly hurt that they don’t get better.

I’m now going to tell you something really good. We can all learn really easy things to keep us safer near roads and we’re going to do this in this lesson, so we can STAY SAFE.

Can anyone tell me some kinds of traffic? (Car/ Bus / Truck / Fire engine / Motorbike etc.)

Can anyone do the NOISES that this traffic makes? (Children make traffic noises)

That’s one of the useful things about traffic. You can sometimes use your EARS to hear it coming.

Traffic isn’t just noisy, it’s also FAST. This means it comes quickly. Does anyone know why traffic can move so fast, faster than you on legs? (Wheels)

Let’s do an experiment, to see if wheels are faster than legs
(Child chosen to then walk sensibly across the hall holding hands with you, while a solid, toy truck (use a big one that goes in a straight line) is rolled across the hall at the same time – the truck will move much faster.)
 
Traffic is also HARD. Prod your tummy. Is it soft or hard? (Soft)
This is why traffic can hurt you. You are soft and traffic is hard.

We’ve found out that traffic is NOISY, FAST AND HARD AND CAN HURT US. So let’s all clap our hands for learning these important lessons.  (Children clap)

Hands are good for clapping. What else can we use hands for to keep us safe on roads?
(Holding hands)

What other bits of our body can we use to keep us safe on roads (pointing to eyes and ears)
(Eyes and ears)

That’s right, we have to look for traffic, and we have to listen for traffic. Sometimes we have to look very carefully and listen very carefully because traffic might be far away or round a corner, but we know it might get to us fast.

I know a rhyme that we can learn today. Are you ready? Listen carefully so you can copy me when I say it again.

I STOP before I cross the street,
I use my EYES and my EARS before my FEET.
(holding up hand to indicate ‘stop’ then pointing to eyes, ears and then feet)

(Repeat with the children.)

Now we’re going to play my thumbs up, thumbs down game. If you think that I am saying something sensible and safe, stick your thumb up. If you think I am saying something daft and dangerous, stick your thumb down.

•    My balloon has gone into the road and I am going to run after it
•    I want to cross the road and there is a green man showing.
•    I want to cross the road but there is a red man showing.
•    My best friend is further up the road but they haven’t seen me, so I want to run ahead of my mum to catch them up.
•    I’m going to play in the park away from roads
•    I’m in the car but I think we are going to be late for a party. I tell my dad to drive faster.

(Children stick thumbs up and down. Use as the basis of discussion. Why are these things safe or dangerous? What do the children think?)

I think we’ve all done very well there and thought very hard about how to stay safe. Let’s give ourselves another round of applause.
(clapping)

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Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, Feb 2011

JLHCambridge MP Julian Huppert has won Brake and Direct Line’s Parliamentarian of the Month Award for his work to promote cyclist safety.

While cyclist deaths and road casualties in general have been decreasing year on year, cyclist serious and slight injuries have begun to increase in recent years, possibly due to the increased popularity of cycling. In 2009, reported cyclist serious injuries rose by 6% to 2,606 from 2,450 in 2008[1].

Julian has always been passionate about cycling. As a keen cyclist himself and a long standing member of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, he knows first-hand how dangerous cycling can be when travelling on busy roads. His own passion for cycling, as well as his experience of being MP for Cambridge, which has one of the highest cycling rates in the UK, shaped his determination to help make sure roads safer for the cycling community.

In October 2010, Julian wrote a letter to Norman Baker, the under-secretary of state for transport asking for the Government’s reassurance that the cycle proficiency scheme, Bikeability, will continue to be funded despite the wider cuts to transport funding. Click here for more information.

Through October and November Julian also asked a total of 13 questions in parliament on the topic of cyclist safety, including the continued funding of the Bikeability scheme.(PQ:2019,PQ:20203,PQ:20202,PQ:20196,PQ:20204,PQ:20205PQ:20206,PQ:20188,PQ:20189,PQ:20190,PQ:20191,PQ:20187,PQ:21098)

On 19 January 2011, transport under Secretary Norman Baker announced that the Government will continue to fund Bikeability. This was welcomed by Julian as a sign that the coalition takes cycling safety seriously, but he knew that more still needed to be done. Read the announcement here.

On 21 January 2011, Julian led a debate on cycling in the House of Commons, in which he called for greater action to protect cyclists. Specifically, he called for:

  • Greater use of 20mph speed limits in residential and shopping streets, which make a large difference to the safety of children, cyclists and pedestrians, but only a small difference to car travel times – plus a wider commitment to reducing traffic volume and speed.
  • The introduction of proportionate liability which puts the default onus on the more dangerous vehicle in a collision, as used in some other countries. It would help to protect cars from trucks, bikes from cars and pedestrians from bikes. It would encourage the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute in cases of disregard for other road users.
  • Local authorities to have the power to use “no entry except cycles" traffic signs, which will allow cyclists access to quieter streets.
  • The adjustment and enforcement of the law on mandatory cycle lanes so that vehicles in mandatory cycle lanes can be prosecuted.
  • The promotion of radical solutions among local authorities  such as greater powers for local authorities over traffic signs and the allowance of no entry-except cycles signs, Contraflow cycling in appropriate one-way streets  and deterrence of low cost compromise solutions such as shared use cycle facilities on pavements which can cause conflict with pedestrians.
  • A cycling and pedestrian awareness element to the driving test which goes beyond the hazard perception element in the theory test.

Julian plans to follow up the debate by writing to Theresa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport, to ask for further clarification and commitments following the debate.

He is continuing to strive for amendments to the law through a short bill or statutory instrument. Through this channel he hopes to achieve better enforcement of the law on mandatory cycle lanes and a cycling and pedestrian awareness element to the driving theory test.

He is optimistic that there will be progress in cyclist safety following the positive ministerial answers given at the debate.

Julian Huppert MP,said: “In Cambridge, we have worked hard to promote cycling as a viable alternative to the car and we have a large number of our residents cycling to school and work. And since the coalition came to power our new government has shown that it is serious about funding and promoting cycling.

But I am certain there are people both in the city and nationally who would like to cycle but feel insecure or intimidated. Taking that on board, there is still a great deal of work to be done to make our roads safer for cyclists. We also of course need to encourage cyclists to behave safely themselves!

I will continue to push the government to make the necessary changes to our legislation which will give cyclists the recognition and protection that they deserve and show that we are truly committed to cycling as a serious form of transport.”

Julie Townsend, campaigns director, said: “Julian has shown dedication to  cyclist safety and thoroughly deserves this recognition. Cyclists are among our most vulnerable road users and, as cycling becomes more popular, making our roads safer for them becomes ever more pressing. Yet we still don’t have widespread basic facilities that cyclists need to stay safe such as dedicated and continuous cycle lanes. It is imperative that the Government takes a leadership role on this and works to improve cyclist safety as a priority.”


[1] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2009, Department for Transport 2010.

Make streets safer for cycling to build on Tour de France fever, says charity

Thursday 3 July 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

As Britain gets set to host the first stage of the Tour de France – with the 'Grand Départ' from Yorkshire underway this Saturday – a survey of more than 1,000 young people published today by Brake and insurer RSA Group has revealed teen angst about taking to two wheels [1].

As millions of fans descend on Yorkshire to watch the world's cycling stars, Brake and RSA are warning that action is needed from national and local government across the UK to make cycling safer, to enable the next generation to take it up and enjoy the benefits without fearing for their safety.

The Brake and RSA survey, carried out as part of a UK-wide project for safer streets for teens, finds:

  • Only one in 11 (9%) teens cycle weekly or more, while one in four (23%) never cycle
  • Four in 10 (42%) would like to be able to start cycling or cycle more
  • Of those, 39% say lack of safe routes is a factor preventing them
  • 46% say their parents would worry about them cycling
  • 32% say they would feel nervous cycling on local roads

Brake today said that introducing 20mph limits in towns and cities alongside more traffic free cycling and walking routes and improvements to road design would help deliver a legacy of healthy, active, green communities where everyone can cycle and walk without being endangered. They are also calling on drivers everywhere to help make roads safer for cycling, by slowing down to 20 in built up areas, taking bends and junctions cautiously, giving space to cyclists and looking out for people on bike and foot.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, says: "'Le Tour' coming to our home county is a great coup for the region and the UK, and great timing given the wave of enthusiasm for cycling. But our survey shows many young people – our next generation of cycling stars – want to cycle more, but are wary of doing so. It remains that fast traffic and inadequate safe routes have a major impact on people's ability to choose and enjoy cycling, and children and young people's ability to live active lifestyles. It's a sad state of affairs that our next Bradley Wiggins may never get on a bike because his mum says it's too dangerous.

"We believe everyone should be able to cycle or walk in their community without fear or threat. Anyone who drives can help bring this about: pledge to 'GO 20' around homes, schools and shops, and take great care to look out for cyclists and pedestrians this summer and year-round. We're also appealing to local and national government to recognise the huge demand for, and importance of, safe walking and cycling, and implement widespread 20mph limits and safe routes."

Peter Collins, head of corporate responsibility for RSA, says: "In a year when the Tour de France starts in the UK with a current British champion it's sad to see that so many of our teens are put off cycling by safety fears. Not only is cycling good for health; there are also environmental benefits – but safety is paramount and that's why initiatives like 'GO 20' are so important."

The survey of teens was conducted as part of a UK-wide project by Brake and RSA to engage secondary schools and colleges in road safety and help make streets safe for teens, in the lead-up to this year's Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake on 17-23 November.

Brake is part of GO 20, a coalition of 11 charities calling for: more local authorities to implement 20mph limits across towns, cities and villages; the government to work towards 20mph being the norm in all our communities; and drivers to pledge to GO 20 around homes, schools and shops.

Why GO 20:

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have much more time to react and stop in time if they need to. Studies show when 20 limits replace 30, it means fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [2].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling [3].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution: GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys [4]. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly [5]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [6]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over [7]. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

Notes to editors

Brake
Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, a Fleet Safety Forum, practitioner services, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

About RSA Group
With a 300 year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe and has the capability to write business in around 140 countries. Focusing on general insurance, RSA has around 23,000 employees and, in 2013, its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

As a leading car insurer they have an interest in promoting safety awareness and reducing the number of crashes on our roads. In the UK, they have been a partner of Brake since 2011. They undertake road safety campaigns in many of their businesses across the world.

End notes
[1] Brake sampled 1,066 young people, anonymously, age 11 to 17, as part of an ongoing 'hands-up' survey conducted by secondary schools and colleges into their attitudes to cycling and road safety
[2] For example, 20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001; 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[3] Where widespread 20 limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20% Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[4 Environmental effects of 30 km/h in urban areas – with regard to exhaust emissions and noise, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 1999
[5] The annual costs of physical inactivity in England are estimated at £8.2 billion. At least five a week - evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health - a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004
[6] Road casualties in Britain cost an estimated £34.8billion in 2011, due to the burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs, insurance payouts, and human costs. Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2011, Department for Transport, 2012
[7] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of cost savings to the health service through increased physical activity. They used the World Health Organisation's Health Economic Assessment Tool to estimate the changes in costs. They found for every £1 spent they saw a return of £24.72 through increased walking and £7.47 through increased in cycling. Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012. Reducing speeds in urban environments reduces casualties. For each 1mph speed reduction, casualties decrease by 5%, The effects of drivers' speed on the frequency of road accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 2000, fewer crashes reduces the burden on the NHS, emergency services and local economy. Each death on roads costs £1.7 million and each serious injury costs £190,000, Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012

Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, May 2007

may07Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside
Mark Tami MP is campaigning to stop the horrifying number of deaths and injuries of cyclists in his constituency, and around the UK.

Several cyclists have been killed in recent high-profile crashes on roads in North East Wales, including roads in Alyn and Deeside. In January 2007, a crash in Mark’s constituency killed one cyclist and seriously injured another. Some of Mark’s constituents are also members of the Rhyl cycling club, involved in a crash in January 2006, in which four people died. These tragedies have prompted local people to urge Mark to take action to stop deaths and injuries of cyclists on local roads.

Mark has worked with organisations representing road users throughout May, lobbying Government departments and campaigning in Parliament to improve safety for cyclists.

Organisations representing lorry drivers, taxi firms and courier services have agreed to raise driver awareness of cyclist safety, including overtaking at a safe speed and distance:

  • The Road Haulage Association, which has more than 10,000 members, has agreed that the issue is important and urgent, and plans to educate its drivers to be more aware of cyclists.
  • The National Taxi Association, which represents taxicab operators, has already urged all 100 of its members to make sure their drivers watch out for cyclists and give them a wide berth when overtaking.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is currently updating the Highway Code, and has recently released a draft of the updated version. Mark is working with British Cycling to lobby DfT for improvements to the new Code. They want to make sure that the Code advises cyclists to make safety-based decisions on when to use facilities such as cycle lanes and advanced stop lines. DfT has responded by running a consultation proposing amendments to make it clear that cyclists are not obliged to use cycle facilities, and should make safety-based decisions. Brake has issued a response to this consultation.

In Parliament, Mark tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) calling for organisations to educate drivers about safe driving around cyclists. He is raising awareness of problems caused by drivers not watching out for cyclists and overtaking dangerously. Cyclist deaths increased by an alarming 30% between 2003 and 2005. EDM 1305 has 55 signatures to date.

Read Brake’s advice for cyclists on staying safe on the road, and Brake’s ‘Are you a safe driver’ booklet, which is packed with practical tips on safe driving, including looking out for cyclists (pg 19).

New national road casualty figures hide the potholes in cyclist safety

Hugh Potter, partner and personal injury specialist at Potter Rees Dolan, explains why cyclist safety is a ticking time bomb that needs to be disarmed.

Ask cyclists if they feel entirely safe cycling on our cities’ main roads and I bet the large majority will respond with a resounding “no”. Yet new road collision figures released by Department for Transport provide the seemingly comforting news that road casualties involving all types of road users (from pedestrians to HGV drivers) in Great Britain dropped by 8% over the past five years, from 203,950 in 2011 to 186,189 in 2015.

However, research carried out by my firm, Potter Rees Dolan, uncovered that this general, headline figure masks the fact that injuries to cyclists are quietly increasing each year.

Deaths and serious injuries involving cyclists increased by 5% from 3,192 in 2011 to 3,339 in 2015, while deaths and serious injuries to car occupants decreased by 6% from 9,225 in 2011 to 8,642 in 2015. Even allowing for the increased numbers of cyclists on the road my suspicion is that while the majority of our nation’s drivers are benefiting from improvements to road safety, cyclists are not. This is something I urge the Department for Transport to address immediately.

Cyclists, a vulnerable yet growing road user type

Cycling is a much more ‘exposed’ mode of transport than travelling by car; there is no seat belt, windscreen, dashboard or airbags to protect a cyclist. In any collision a cyclist is much more likely to suffer serious injuries than other road users.

At a time when the government is encouraging motorists to leave their vehicles at home for environmental reasons, and choose to walk or cycle instead, it is desperately worrying to see cyclists experience an increase in injuries. These stats are hardly an incentive to start cycling.

Listen to the cyclist community

I believe a great deal can be done to reverse this worrying trend if local councils are willing to take advice more generally from the cyclists themselves. Manchester City Council has done some admirable work already but more should be done to encourage cyclists’ feedback to their local council, via text tweets or survey or similar. The easier to use and more informal the better. Cyclists know what improvements need to be made based on their experience on the roads, and highlight any particularly problematic locations or ‘black spots’.

From what I have experienced in my local area (Greater Manchester), cyclists are well aware of problematic, unsafe areas and would be more than willing to suggest how to improve aspects of road safety for fellow cyclists.

I am sure this would be mirrored in towns and cities across Britain. This would allow councils to dedicate resource to aspects and locations that keep cropping up in the cyclists’ feedback.

Hit the message home

Rewind five years, and motorcyclists were in a very similar position to that which cyclists are in now. Since then, there have been various awareness campaigns designed to make other road users aware of motorcyclists’ presence on the roads and urging them to take care when overtaking and watch out for them at junctions. There was a terrific campaign north of the border which should have received more coverage likening cyclists to horses and the accommodation that drivers needed to make. Let us have more similar messages!

To support this approach, the dataset also revealed that motorcyclist deaths and serious injuries dropped by 4% from 5,609 in 2011 to 5,407 in 2015. While the reduction may be small, the outlook seems much more positive for motorcyclists and that may well reflect greater awareness of the need for their safety.

As a partner and personal injury specialist at a legal firm that specialises in representing those who have catastrophic, life-changing injuries, I have seen first-hand the devastating effect road collisions have on all road users and pedestrians. This is why I push for improved road safety, particularly if standards are slipping for one particular type of road user. In many instances, collisions and consequent injuries are avoidable just by tightening up road safety and encouraging vigilance among the motoring community.

Potter Rees Dolan final