Articles Tagged ‘emissions - Brake the road safety charity’

‘Drive less, live more’ campaign launched by Brake, as devastating UK-wide health effects of driving are revealed

Monday, 23 November 2015

Brake, the road safety charity

Contact 01484 550067 / 07976 069 159, or e: news@brake.org.uk

  • Released today: 75% of drivers surveyed think people in the UK use their cars too much
  • Air pollution is estimated to kill 52,500 people in the UK each year
  • 43% of adults in England don’t meet the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. Cycling or a brisk walk to work can meet these recommendations.
  • Five deathsand 64serious injuries happen daily on UK roads, up 4% on the previous year

A national campaign launched today (23 November) by the charity Brake at the start of Road Safety Week calls on drivers to drive less, live more. The campaign aims to make roads safer, especially for people on foot and bike; save money; make communities more pleasant; protect the environment; and improve public health. Media are invited to campaign launch events – see box below.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners AIG and Specsavers today reveal statistics confirming the devastating effects on health and wellbeing of driving, including the extent of air pollution, the shocking number of deaths it causes, and levels of ‘inactivity’ across different parts of the UK.

A map of the UK showing statistics for each local authority is now live at roadsafetyweek.org.uk/drivelessmap for your analysis.

Brake, Specsavers and AIG are also today launching results of a survey of 1,000 driving adults (23 Nov):

  • Eight in 10 (79%) admit to driving on journeys that could be made on foot, bicycle or by public transport.
  • A large majority of people surveyed see overuse of cars as a problem, but point the fingers at others: 75% think people use their cars too much, but only 30% think they are guilty of this.
  • 85% of those surveyed believe people overall should reduce car use, for a variety of reasons: 52% to reduce air pollution and noise, and half (50%) to protect the environment and stop climate change.
  • Significant numbers agreed their driving was detrimental to their own/family’s health (31%), and their family’s finances (28%).
  • The most commonly cited factor people said would help persuade them to drive less (37%) was making public transport in their area more frequent, accessible and convenient.

Full results are at the bottom of this release.

Filming, photo and interview opportunities:

Media are invited to attend the main launch in London or media calls across the UK in Glasgow, Bristol, and York. Find out more fromnews@brake.org.uk.

Main launch event:

WHERE:Horse Guards Parade, London SW1A 2AX   WHEN: 8:30am-11:00am 23 November

FILMING/PHOTOS:Met Police and their Cycle Safety Team will be running exchanging places, with cyclists and pedestrians given the opportunity to sit in an HGV and learn about their blind spots first hand. There will also be a spinning class with London’s Santander bikes, demonstration of BMW Electric bikes, Cemex’s new Econic truck which provides better safety for cyclists, and HaveBike's mobile cycle workshop.

INTERVIEWS:Brake campaigns director, Gary Rae (07748 674851), Met Police spokesperson Inspector Dave Osborne (07921 067 383), vox pops with members of the public.

OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPHS from the event will be provided from mid-afternoon on the same day. Contactnews@brake.org.uk to confirm expected upload time. To set up pre-record filming and interviews with Brake, emailnews@brake.org.uk.

 

Why drive less, live more?

Every day five people die on UK roads, and 64 more are seriously injured – every one causes needless devastation, trauma and suffering, which Brake witnesses through its victim care services [1][2]. The vast majority of these serious casualties, which went up by 4% last year, are down to driver error.

Brake believes road safety isn’t just about driving safely and legally or using the green cross code, although these are important. It’s about making our streets safe and pleasant for everyone to use freely, and doing everything we can to protect ourselves and people around us. A big part of that is driving less, as little as possible, or not at all if you can.

It’s common for people to habitually walk the few metres from their front door to their car and drive, even if they’re only going round the corner. A quarter of car journeys (23%) are less than two miles [3]. People who walk or cycle often have to face busy, noisy streets, full of pollution and fast traffic. Is this the way we want it?

Walking, cycling or using public transport not only helps to make our streets safer, more pleasant and less polluted, it has personal benefits too. It can save families a lot of money, help people live healthier, more active lives, reduce stress and illness, and help people connect with their communities.

That’s why Brake is asking everyone to consider how they use roads, and to see if they can drive less, live more, and walk, cycle or use public transport instead, to help make our roads and communities safer, happier, healthier and less polluted places.

Members of the public can show their support for the drive less, live more campaign by:

Gary Rae, director of communications and campaigns at Brake, said: “Our Road Safety Week theme of ‘drive less, live more’ makes clear the link between improving road safety, preventing casualties, protecting people and the planet, and our choice of transport. We understand that not everyone has freedom of choice in the way they travel, hence we continue to have a strong year-round focus campaigning for a safer environment for walking and cycling through our GO 20 campaign. We also support the efforts of partner organisations that are campaigning for better public transport. But our main aim through this November’s Road Safety Week is to help people consider the options open to them, and better understand the benefits of driving less, to road safety, health, personal finances, communities and the planet.

“Road Safety Week has become the most crucial fixture in our calendar for raising public awareness of road safety, and it has also become a crucial fixture for many educators, road safety professionals, and employers around the country too. We believe this year’s theme is a critical one for all of us, providing a chance to show how road safety is a bigger issue than many people think.”

Specsavers co-founder, Dame Mary Perkins, said: “Specsavers is proud to continue to work with Brake to support Road Safety Week, a timely reminder of the dangers on our roads. As winter approaches, bad weather and dark nights impact on visibility affecting pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike. But we hope this doesn't discourage people from walking and cycling at this time of year. We would urge all road users to ensure they have regular eye tests in order to keep both themselves and their loved ones safe and to cut down on the amount of preventable collisions on our roads.”

Stuart Sutherland, Casualty Profit Centre Manager at AIG, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Brake in the dedicated work it does to promote road safety in the UK. This partnership is one of a number of road safety initiatives across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa as part of AIG’s Together for Safer Roads objectives. It reflects our commitment as a company to working around the world alongside partners in business, government and the community to make our roads safer and prevent unnecessary death and injury.”

More facts about driving and its impact:

  • By 2040 the number of cars on England’s roads is set to increase by 39% compared to 2010 and traffic delays by 61% [4].
  • Nearly a third (27%) of UK CO2 emissions come from road transport [5]. Air pollution is a major killer: there are an estimated 29,000 deaths from particulate matter pollution in the UK [6], 5,000 of which are attributable to road transport [7], and an additional 23,500 deaths from NO2 [8]. Much of the UK still exceeds EU standards on NO2 emissions; and in those areas where levels are too high, 80% of emissions are due to road transport, mostly cars and vans [9].
  • Fear of traffic can discourage people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. A Brake survey found one in three non-cyclists (35%) would cycle their commute if routes were safer [10].
  • 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].
  • One in five cars on the road during the morning rush-hour is doing the school run. Half of children are now driven to school [12], yet the average school run for primary schools is just 1.5 miles [13]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [14]. Children who are encouraged to walk, cycle, scoot or skateboard to school tend to engage more with their community, stay healthy, and arrive alert, relaxed and ready to start the day [15].
  • One in four adults in England are obese and a further 37% are overweight [16]. The cost to the NHS of people being overweight is estimated at £4.2 billion per year [17]. The Chief Medical Officer recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate physical exercise a week, yet 43% of adults in England don't do this [18].
  • Incorporating activity like walking, jogging and cycling into everyday life is effective for losing weight [19], and can help guard against asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers [20].
  • People who take the bus or train to work instead of driving have a lower BMI and healthier bodyweight [21].
  • Nearly half of households in England could be struggling with car-ownership costs [22]. Driving less can save money: for example, a family can save £642 per year by swapping a car-based school run for walking or cycling [23].

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.

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.

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 2015 takes place 23-29 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors AIG and Specsavers.

AIG
American International Group, Inc. (AIG) is a leading global insurance organisation serving customers in more than 100 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional, and individual customers through one of the most extensive worldwide property-casualty networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of life insurance and retirement services in the United States. AIG common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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 2014, Department for Transport, 2015

[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2014 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2015

[3] National Travel Survey 2014, Department for Transport, 2015

[4] Road Transport Forecasts 2013, Department for Transport

[5] Local authority carbon dioxide emissions estimates 2012, Department of Energy & Climate Change

[6] Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England

[7] Public Health Impacts of Combustion Emissions in the United Kingdom, MIT

[8] Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

[9] Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

[10] Commuters call for safer streets for cycling, to enable more to get on their bikes, Brake

[11] National Travel Survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013

[12] Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics, 2011

[13] Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics, 2011

[14] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014

[15] The school run, Sustrans

[16] Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, NHS, 2013

[17] Tackling obesities: future choices – project report (2nd ed), Foresight Programme of the Government Office for Science, 2007

[18] Public Health Outcomes Framework, Public Health England, 2014

[19] Start Active, Stay Active: a Report on Physical Activity from the Four Home Countries’ Chief Medical Officers, Department of Health, 2011

[20] Benefits of exercise, NHS, 2015

[21] Associations between active commuting, body fat, and body mass index: population based, cross sectional study in the United Kingdom, BMJ 349 :g4887, 2014

[22] Locked Out: Transport poverty in England, Sustrans, 2012

[23] Estimate by Sustrans based on figures from the AA, DfE school statistics, DfT National Travel Survey, DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors and the Bike Station, June 2014

Full survey results:

Survey of 1,000 UK adult drivers carried out by Surveygoo on behalf of Brake, September 2015:

Q.1 On average, do you think people in the UK use their cars? (tick one)

Far too much  28%

A bit too much 47%

About the right amount 25%

A bit too little  0%

Far too little 0%

Q.2 On average, do you think you personally use your car? (tick one)

Far too much 6%

A bit too much 25%

About the right amount 57%

A bit too little 10%

Far too little 3%

Q.3 Do you think people in the UK should reduce their car use, and if so, why? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, to protect the environment and stop climate change 50%

Yes, to make roads safer, especially for people on foot and bike 31%

Yes, to save money 40%

Yes, to improve public health 39%

Yes, to reduce air pollution and noise 52%

Yes, to help support local businesses 11%

Yes, to make their communities more pleasant and interact with people more 25%

No 15%

Q.4 Do you think you PERSONALLY should reduce your car use, and if so, why? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, to protect the environment and stop climate change 28%

Yes, to make roads safer, especially for people on foot and bike 16%

Yes, to save money 36%

Yes, to improve public health 21%

Yes, to reduce air pollution and noise 26%

Yes, to help support local businesses 6%

Yes, to make their communities more pleasant and interact with people more 13%

No 38%

Q.5 Do you think your own car use has any negative effects on you and/or your family, and if so, what? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, it is making me/us less healthy 31%

Yes, it is putting me/us in danger on the roads 12%

Yes, it is costing me/us too much money 28%

Yes, it is making me/us less likely to meet people and engage with the local community 11%

No 46%

Q.6 Do you think your own car use has any negative effects on society, and if so, what? (tick as many as you think apply)

Yes, it is contributing to making people less healthy because it creates pollution 38%

Yes, it is contributing to making people less healthy because it discourages them from walking or cycling 30%

Yes, it is contributing to putting people at risk on the roads 14%

Yes, it is contributing to costing society money, for instance because of road building costs or delays caused by congestion  21%

Yes, it is contributing to making our community less pleasant and/or sociable 15%

No 39%

Q.7 Would any of the following persuade you to use your car less? (tick as many as apply)

Driving cost more 18%

Public transport in my area was cheaper 32%

Public transport in my area was more accessible, frequent and convenient 37%

Walking and cycling in my area was safer and more pleasant 23%

More was done to convince me driving was harmful to me and my family 9%

More was done to convince me driving was harmful to society 4%

More was done to convince me driving was harmful to the environment 5%

Other people used their cars less 8%

None of the above - I will not/cannot use my car less 35%

Q.8 Choose the statement that most applies to you (tick one)

I never make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead 22%

I often make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead  18%

I rarely make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead 29%

I sometimes make journeys by car I could make by foot, bike or public transport instead 32%

 

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 annual reception, January 2017

Speech by Mary Williams OBE, chief executive, Brake, annual reception for the charity, Westminster, 25 January 2017

To quote Martin Luther King, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Time is an unruly beast however. 

It has a habit of speeding up and slowing down.

For busy families, and busy workers, in our busy world, it moves fast. The temptation to multi-task; to drive while on a smart phone, to break speed limits, to take the car rather than cycle and save the planet, are life-threatening, climate endangering behaviours fuelled by pressures of time. They cause drivers to prioritise ‘in the moment’, wrongly, and to devastating effect.

Time can stop in a moment.

Time grinds to a halt when someone is killed or seriously injured in a road crash. Our routines are suspended. Suddenly, our attention is focussed.

It’s beautifully summed up in WH Auden’s famous poem so often used at funerals.  “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone. Scribble on the sky the message “he is dead”.”

Yet, consumed by grief and distress, we are given a strange and precious gift. We are given the gift of sight. We can see what matters above all – people and life. As Auden puts it: “he was my north, my south, my east, my west.”

Whether we can see it or not, the time is always right to put humanity first.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” 

There are so many affected families who work alongside Brake, bravely, to fight for humanity. To fight for what others cannot see through the haze of the day to day.

To fight for appropriately grave sentences for drivers who kill and injure through wanton actions:

use of smart phones and other on-board screens.

drink and drug driving.

speeding, or driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured.

knowingly driving a mechanically unfit vehicle or driving tired.  

Campaigning takes time – frustrating amounts of time. Brake has been fighting for tougher sentences for more than 20 years. Last year, working with affected families, we elevated our Roads to Justice campaign in the media.

The current government consultation road traffic offences provides a real and urgent opportunity to redress paltry sentencing.

There are so many campaigns that Brake has found, to our cost, take inordinate time, when the road ahead seems so clear.

There are so many campaigns we have consistently supported, are still outstanding and that this government has a chance to resolve. 

A reduction in the drink drive limit, to stop our country being infamous for having the highest limit in Europe.

The government has the public with them. More than three quarters of drivers we surveyed in partnership with Direct Line think our limit is too high.

Approved testing devices to catch MDMA and cocaine drivers.

20mph limits as a default for built up roads.

A country-wide network of segregated cycle lanes that connect places, enabling, fast, healthy, zero emission transport.

Prioritisation of pedestrianisation, with wide and safe pavements, crossing places and livable traffic free spaces, enabling people to move our bodies, talk to our children, meet our neighbours. Invigorating communities.

A country with transport powered by clean fuels, to end the carnage of respiratory deaths from particulate pollution. There is more than one way a vehicle can kill you.  

Vehicles, speed, air pollution and people just don’t mix. It’s possible, but not yet, that automated vehicles of the future will be able to stop on a penny for every hazard.

But that doesn’t and will never change our need to move our bodies, and consequently be healthy, happy people, particularly our children and their need to walk, run, hop and skip in safety and while breathing clean air.   

This week’s very high air pollution warning in London and the mayor’s announcement of “toxic air audits” at London schools drives home the importance of super-charging policy measures to enable low-carbon transport. 

Brake is fighting for a world that is safe, green, clean and fair, with zero road casualties and emissions from transport. This is a vision of sustainable mobility.

The United Nation’s 2020 deadline is rapidly approaching, for a halving of road deaths and injuries globally through safe systems and the 2030 goal of clean transport.  

This government has the power to stop the clock. To see what needs to be done. To be at the forefront of road safety solutions globally.

Over the past year, Brake has looked hard at our role providing education. We’ve particularly reflected on the difficulties of a campaigning, awareness raising charity achieving immediate behavioural change among individual drivers. Our surveys tell us time and again that many drivers understand risks, and do it anyway.

More than half of 25-34 year old drivers we questioned last year admitted sending or reading messages while driving.

Behavioural changes takes time. We haven’t got time.

The reality is that, while Brake can raise awareness, change needs to come from the top, and fast. 

To provide more funding for victim support.

To eliminate road casualties through safe systems.

To enable all vehicles to be clean vehicles.

But together we are so much stronger. I want to thank all supporters of the charity who help enable that change.

The families bereaved and injured, and their supportive communities, who raise awareness of the cause and fundraise.

The teachers who promote Road Safety Week in their schools, enabling children to pester power their parents to slow down.

The police and other road safety professionals, particularly family liaison officers, doing such an important task supporting affected families.

The companies prioritising managing their road risk, investing in low-carbon transport, or providing funds to the charity.

To our governments for part-funding Road Safety Week and our national victim helpline.

And last but not least to the Brake team of staff I am privileged to work with, many of whom are here tonight also.

When a life ends, time is suspended. We have clarity. Let’s use that clarity to keep fighting for humanity. 

 

 

Brake backs Walk to School Week – a healthier and happier start to the day for you and the planet

News from Brake

16 May 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is encouraging families to get out of their cars and on to their feet as part of Living Streets’ Walk to School Week.

Half of our children are driven to school, yet the average school run for primary age children is just 1.5 miles.[i]

Average walking trips per person have decreased by 27% since 1995, with walking now making up just over a fifth (22%) of trips in Britain.[ii]

In that time congestion and air pollution have increased, as have our waistlines, with childhood obesity being described be experts as an epidemic.

Driving less means there will be less harmful pollution pumped into our atmosphere and children and parents will get more exercise. There are financial benefits too. It’s estimated an average family can save £642 a year by swapping a car-based school run for walking or cycling. [iii]

Regular walking, jogging and cycling can help guard against asthma, depression, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and some cancers.[iv]

Alice Bailey communications and campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity, said: Walking to school, which was once so common place, seems to be the second option for most parents nowadays. We need walking to school to become the norm once again and events such as Walk to School Week and next month’s Brake’s Giant Walk can hopefully showcase the benefits of an active start to the day rather than jumping in the car.

Joe Irvin, Living Streets’ CEO said: “Not only are we experiencing a childhood obesity crisis, we’re also facing a rise in mental health and wellbeing problems. We know that keeping active is a major part of the solution.
“We must prioritise ways of encouraging physical activity if we want today’s children to become healthy adults. The walk to school is a free, easy and accessible way for parents and their children to achieve this. Sadly, just 46 per centof primary school children walk to school compared to 70 per cent of their parents’ generation. We must reverse this decline.”Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics (2011)

[i] Donabie, Anna, Transport: Social Trends 41, Office for National Statistics (2011)
[ii] National Travel Survey, Department for Transport, 2013
[iii] Estimate by Sustrans based on figures from the AA, DfE school statistics, DfT National Travel Survey, DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors and the Bike Station (June 2014)
[iv] NHS http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Whybeactive.aspx (2015)

Notes to Editors:

About Brake’s Giant Walk
Brake’s Giant Walk is an annual event in primary schools where children learn about traffic pollution and danger, and transport choices. Schools taking part get their pupils to walk (in a crocodile of supervised kids, holding hands on safe pavements, or around the school’s grounds) which gives children a voice, helping them tell drivers to slow down and look out for people on foot. Children can be sponsored to take part and schools can run fundraising events, helping fund Brake's campaigns and services for families bereaved and injured by road crashes.

About Walk to School Week

Walk to School Week 2016 will take place 16-20 May. For more information visit https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/what-we-do/projects/walk-to-school-week

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, orThe 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 'self driving' lorry tests

News from Brake
Friday 25 August, 2017

The Government has today announced plans to test small convoys of partially driverless lorries by the end of 2018. Commenting on the news, Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said: "Rather than platooning lorries on already congested UK roads, the Government should instead cut emissions and improve public safety by moving more freight from road to rail. Each freight train takes around 60 HGVs off the road network.

"This rigorous trial is needed to prove whether this technology really can provide the safety and environmental benefits which are claimed."

[Ends]
 
Notes to editors:
 
Statistics on rail freight: source Network Rail (https://www.networkrail.co.uk/industry-commercial-partners/rail-freight/)

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 says ditch the car this World Car Free Day

Wednesday 21 September
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity, is encouraging all drivers to try and ditch the car and use alternative forms of transport this World Car Free Day.

Every year on 22 September, people from around the world get together in the streets to show everyone that we don't necessarily have to live in our current car-dominated society.

Currently a quarter of car journeys (23%) are less than two miles [1], a distance which can easily be covered on foot or by bike. On the other hand, average walking trips per person have decreased by 27% since 1995, with walking now making up just over a fifth (22%) of trips in Britain [2].

Transport also accounts for a fifth (21%) of UK greenhouse gas emissions, with road transport making up the most significant proportion of this [3].

With all of that in mind, Brake believes that local authorities and the government should invest money in sustainable transport infrastructure which would provide a real alternative to the car. This would benefit individuals financially along with improving the environment and our communities, by reducing the number of cars and harmful vehicle emissions.

Alice Bailey, campaigns advisor for Brake, said: “In an ideal world we’d love all car users to change their attitudes and only use their vehicles when necessary rather than down to sheer convenience, as it currently is.

"However, that can only be done on a major scale and if there is significant investment in safer and cheaper alternatives. Many people are turned off walking and cycling due to how unsafe they feel and public transport often isn’t an adequate or a convenient alternative.

"Hopefully World Car Free Day will showcase how good our towns and cities look and feel without cars, while also putting pressure on the appropriate authorities to give priority and adequate investment to sustainable modes of transport."

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

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 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.

Follow Brake on Twitter, Facebook, 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.

[1] National Travel Survey 2014, Department for Transport, 2015.

[2] National Travel Survey 2013, Department for Transport, 2014.

[3] 2012 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2014

 

Brake welcomes High Court ruling against Government on air pollution

4 November 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety and sustainable transport charity, has welcomed a High Court ruling stating that the government is failing to tackle air pollution across the UK. The case was brought by the legal campaigning group, ClientEarth.

In a damning indictment of ministers’ inaction on killer air pollution, Mr Justice Garnham agreed with ClientEarth that the environment secretary had failed to take measures that would bring the UK into compliance with the law “as soon as possible” and said that ministers knew that over optimistic pollution modelling was being used.

In his ruling, the judge, who listened to two days of argument at the High Court last month, questioned the environment department’s five year modelling; saying it was “inconsistent” with taking measures to improve pollution ” as soon as possible.”

Brake’s director of campaigns, Gary Rae, said: “ClientEarth has doggedly pursued the UK government and held them to account for failing to take action to reduce air pollution. We are facing a major public health crisis with 40,000 deaths in the UK each year from outdoor air pollution with vehicle pollution being a major cause. Government will now have to take action, but as citizens we can also take action by minimising the amount we drive or not driving at all. Many of us could walk or cycle more and use public transport.”

ClientEarth chief executive, James Thornton, said: “I am pleased that the judge agrees with us that the government could and should be doing more to deal with air pollution and protecting people’s health. That’s why we went to court.

“The time for legal action is over. This is an urgent public health crisis over which the Prime Minister must take personal control. I challenge Theresa May to take immediate action now to deal with illegal levels of pollution and prevent tens of thousands of additional early deaths in the UK. The High Court has ruled that more urgent action must be taken. Britain is watching and waiting, prime minister.”

[ENDS]

Notes to Editors:

Brake is coordinating Road Safety Week, 21-27 November 2016, where people are being asked to take action and make Brake Pledge which includes a sustainability strand.

Evidence: The Royal College of Physicians: Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution

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 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 needles

Brake welcomes landmark ruling by Supreme Court ordering government to take immediate action to reduce air pollution

Wednesday 29 April 2015

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

Brake, the road safety charity, has today welcomed a ruling by the Supreme Court which ordered the government to introduce new plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels. NO2 is produced mainly by emissions from diesel vehicles and is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses.

Announcing the decision, Lord Carnwath said: "The new government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address this issue."

The case was brought by ClientEarth - a group of environmental lawyers - which notes that air pollution causes tens of thousands of premature deaths a year in the UK.

Gary Rae, campaigns manager for Brake, said: “The highest court in the land has made it clear that the government must do better when it comes to reducing air pollution. Everyone has a right to breathe clean air; this judgement confirms that right. It’s one reason why our theme for Road Safety Week this year is drive less, live more. We think road safety isn’t just about driving safely and legally, it’s about making our streets safe and pleasant to use. It’s also about doing what we can to protect ourselves, people around us and the planet we depend on. A big part of that is driving less, as little as possible, or not at all, if we can.”

The number of early deaths from air pollution in the UK is put at 29,000 a year - more than obesity and alcohol combined. According to scientific experts, this may be an underestimate as it does not include all air pollutants, including NO2, which is produced mainly by emissions from diesel-powered vehicles.

The UK has been breaching legal limits for nitrogen dioxide since 2010 in 16 different cities and regions. The judgment forces the next government to draw up new air quality plans - for submission to the EU - by the end of the year.

Find out more about Road Safety Week 2015, the drive less, live more theme, and register to be involved and get a free action pack at www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk.

Notes to editors

 Why Brake has chosen drive less, live more as its 2015 Road Safety Week theme

  • Two thirds (63%) of trips are made by car1, including four in 10 (40%) trips of less than two miles2.
  • Average walking trips per person have decreased by 27% since 19953.
  • A quarter of adults in England are obese4 and the cost to the NHS of people being overweight is estimated at £4.2 billion a year5.
  • Incorporating activity like walking and cycling into everyday life is effective for losing weight6.
  • In 2013 there were 1,770 people killed and 22,377 people seriously injured on UK roads7. The vast majority of casualties are attributable to driver error8.
  • Nearly half of households in England could be struggling with the costs of car ownership9.
  • On average a family can save £642 a year by swapping a car-based school run for walking or cycling10.
  • 22% of UK greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport11.
  • Air pollution is estimated to cause 24,000 deaths a year in the UK, half attributable to road transport12.
  • The number of cars is set to increase by 43% by 2035 and traffic delays by 50%13.

1 Commuting and Business Travel, Department for Transport (2011)
2 National Travel Survey, Department for Transport (2010)
3 Ibid
4 Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, Health and Social Care Information Centre (2014)
5 The economic burden of obesity, National Obesity Observatory (2010)
6 Start Active, Stay Active: a Report on Physical Activity from the Four Home Countries’ Chief Medical Officers, Department of Health (2011)
7 Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport (2014) and Police Recorded Injury Road Traffic Collision Statistics: 2013 Key Statistics Report, Police Service of Northern Ireland (2014)
8 Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Aberg, L. and Rimmo, P. A., Uppsala University (1998)
9 Locked Out: Transport poverty in England, Sustrans (2012).
10 Estimate by Sustrans based on figures from the AA, DfE school statistics, DfT National Travel Survey, DEFRA & DECC GHG conversion factors and the Bike Station (June 2014)
11 New Car Fuel Consumption & Emission Figures, Vehicle Certification Agency (2013)
12The Cost of Air Pollution, OECD (2014)
13 Keeping the Nation Moving – Time to face the facts, RAC Foundation (2011)

About 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. Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook.

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.

Carbon footprint calculator

Carbon footprint calculator

Use the tool below to find out the damaging carbon emissions from car use. You can use this tool to help your family reduce or stop car use, in companies to reduce or stop emissions among employees, or in school or college as part of a project about global warming.

See our sustainable travel advice page and fact page for more on this topic.

 

Charity criticises government’s lack of ambition in cutting road casualties as MPs publish Future of Motoring report

Friday 6 March 2015

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

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the transport select committee’s Future of Motoring report published today (6 March). The report calls on the government to set out a comprehensive strategy that sets out first and foremost how it will ‘reduce or eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on the roads’ and cut vehicle emissions.

Brake, now in its 20th year, submitted evidence to the committee. It agrees with several of the committee’s conclusions and recommendations, including the need to develop a coherent strategy with the key objectives of preventing road casualties and reducing emissions. Brake advocates a ‘vision zero’ approach, with a long-term vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries, and challenging targets to aid progress towards this. Brake welcomes the report’s emphasis on the government’sresponsibility to ensure that the most beneficial safety measures are introduced to the [UK] vehicle fleet, as widely and quickly as possible’.

Recently published road casualty data showed a 4% rise in deaths and serious injuries compared to the previous year. Read Brake’s reaction and calls for action.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “Any strategy for motoring must include or be tied to a clear strategy for road safety, and on this the government is failing to provide a robust and ambitious strategy or vision. Brake believes clear leadership must be provided by central government for road safety policy and delivery. We need to see challenging targets re-introduced for tackling road casualties, forward-thinking policies, and a long-term vision of zero road deaths and serious injuries, given that every one is devastating and needless. The government needs to invest more in public transport and safe walking and cycling, and introduce a 20mph urban default speed limit, to make sustainable and active travel an attractive alternative.”

The report focuses heavily on the rapidly developing technology of ‘driverless vehicles’. Brake believes that, subject to rigorous testing, such technology will become commonplace in vehicles before 2040, and will play a key role in reducing casualties caused by human error as well as improving public transport and reducing emissions. Julie Townsend serves on the advisory group for one of the driverless vehicle trials, in Greenwich. She added: “Driverless vehicles could transform the way we use roads, helping to ensure everyone can get around through safe, sustainable and affordable means, and making our communities more pleasant and sociable places.”

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.

Follow Brake on Twitter or Facebook. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

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.

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.

Climate change, air pollution and the contribution of fossil-fuelled motorised road transport

Key facts

  • Estimates suggest that the global car fleet will triple in size between 2010 and 2050 [1];
  • In Britain, vehicle miles travelled by motorised vehicles rose from 304 billion in 2013 to 320 billion in 2016; a rise of 5% in just three years [2];
  • About a quarter of all energy-related CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in the UK come from transport [3];
  • Globally, CO2 emissions from transport grew by 71% between 1990 and 2014 [4];
  • In the UK, outdoor air pollution causes an estimated 40,000 premature deaths every year [5].

Background

Fossil-fuelled motorised road transport (diesel and petrol vehicles), which comprise the vast majority of motorised road transport, is a significant contributor to climate change due to the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in exhaust emissions.

Diesel and petrol vehicle exhaust emissions also contribute to air pollution, causing premature death from respiratory disease.

The process of manufacture of vehicles also contributes to climate change and air pollution.   

The battle to combat CO2 emissions and air pollution resulting from motorised road transport is a battle against a rising tide. The Global Fuel Economy Initiative estimates the global fleet of cars alone will triple between 2010 and 2050 [6]. Such projections are based on a number of factors, including a continued rise in the number of people on the planet [7], road building, affordable vehicles and affordable petrol and diesel. 

Growth in motorised road transport is occurring fastest in many low and middle income countries but also happening in the richest nations. In Britain, vehicle miles travelled by motorised vehicles rose from 304 billion in 2013 to 320 billion in 2016; a rise of 5% in just three years, with notable rises in miles travelled by vans and miles travelled on the Strategic Road Network (motorways and main A roads, which are being extended and upgraded) [8].  

Numbers of licensed vehicles in Britain is also on the rise. For example, there were 25.8 million licensed cars in the third quarter of 2015 compared with 25.2 million in the same period of 2014 – an extra half a million cars in one year – with the largest increases happening in the south east of England [9].

Climate change and the contribution of road transport

In 2016 the Paris Agreement committed countries within the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change to “ambitious efforts” to achieve a limit in temperature rise to below 2°C. Countries must submit a report of intended contributions (Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)). [10]

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has calculated that, despite projected increasing demand, greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector (inclusive of transport) need to start falling by 2020 if there is to be a reasonable chance of limiting temperature rise to below 2°C [11].

As a current member of the EU, the UK is signed up to the EU’s NDC, which commits to a 40% reduction in domestic greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2030 [12].  The UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 legally commits the government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 [13].  

About a quarter of all energy-related CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in the UK come from transport [14]. (This figure is the same worldwide [15].)The majority (three-quarters) of global CO2 emissions from transport are emitted by road transport. [16]

The amount of CO2 emissions from transport has grown significantly in recent years. Globally, CO2 emissions from transport grew by 71% between 1990 and 2014 [17],

There are other greenhouse gases emitted from diesel and petrol-fuelled vehicle exhaust emissions, notably nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The process of obtaining and refining diesel and petrol also releases greenhouse gases.

Fossil-fuelled road transport also releases soot. Black carbon is the light-absorbing component of small particles that make up soot, and is considered the second biggest contributor to climate change. Because it is dark in colour, black carbon absorbs solar energy, warms the climate and causes weather changes. When deposited on arctic snow, it decreases the planet’s ability to reflect the sun [18], hastening ice melt [19]. Road vehicles contribute globally 9% of black carbon emissions, with nearly all from diesel vehicles [20]. 

Air pollution and respiratory disease caused by road transport

Exhaust emissions from fossil-fuelled road transport contributes significantly to outdoor air pollution, which contributes to premature deaths from respiratory conditions, particularly in clogged cities.

The Gothenburg Protocol commits countries, including the UK as part of the EU, to reduce levels of air pollution by 2020 to targets [21]., The UK, along with all other EU states, is also required to comply with EC directives on air quality standards [22]. However, many countries including the UK are failing to comply. In November 2016, in a case brought by the charity ClientEarth, the UK government was found guilty in the High Court of not implementing measures that would tackle air pollution [23].

Health-damaging pollutants include nitrogen oxides and particulates.

Nitrogen oxides are a family of poisonous gases referred to as NOx. NOx damages lung function triggering asthma and contributing to lung disease.

Particulates are small particles, with the most dangerous ones being too small to see. They enter into lungs or blood causing lung disease including cancer [24] [25]. Course particles known as PM10 (between 2.5 microns and 10 microns in diameter) can lodge in the upper throat and airways to the lungs. Fine particles known as PM2.5 (between 0.1 microns and 2.5 microns) are invisible and can reach all the way down to lungs' alveoli (tiny spaces in lungs that allow oxygen to move into blood). (Black carbon is also a component of these sized particles.) Ultra-fine particles (below 0.1 microns) can penetrate blood.

The level and ratios of NOx, particulates, and black carbon emitted per vehicle varies. Older vehicles are often much worse than newer vehicles. Diesel vehicles are often much worse than petrol vehicles. It has emerged in recent years that diesel vehicles are emitting far more pollution when on the road than in tests they are required to pass to meet regulatory standards. This is due to a number of factors including for example hot weather, but also due to some manufacturers fitting ‘cheat’ or ‘defeat’ devices that enabled higher emissions on the road [26]. This has significantly hampered efforts by legislators to tackle pollution through vehicle exhaust emission regulation.

Outdoor air pollution has been estimated to account for 3.1 million premature deaths globally each year from respiratory diseases such as lung cancer [27] [28]. Asian cities are notorious for being blighted by air pollution contributed to significantly by manufacturing and rising motorised traffic, with children and the elderly sometimes being advised to stay indoors or schools being temporarily shut.

In the UK, outdoor air pollution is increasingly recognised as a health hazard causing an estimated 40,000 premature deaths a year [29]; and research by MIT found the leading contributor is transport, with transport-related air pollution causing 7,500 annual premature deaths [30].

The Gothenburg Protocol requires the UK to reduce emissions of PM2.5 by 30 per cent compared to 2005 emissions by 2020, but levels are not reducing. The level for both PM10 and PM2.5 barely changed between 2009 and 2015, with emissions of both pollutants slightly higher in 2015 than in 2009. Emissions from road transport is estimated to account for 14 per cent of PM10 emissions and 13 per cent of PM2.5 in 2015 [31].

In areas of the UK where NOx levels are a cause for concern, motorised road transport is by far the biggest contributor and according to the government “presents the most significant opportunity to improve air quality”. [32]

In London, more than 800 schools are located in areas with NOx levels exceeding limits. In the first five days of 2017, London breached its European-set legal limits for levels of air pollution for the entire year [33]. Mayor Sadiq Khan described London's toxic air as a public health emergency, with London now issues warnings to people with heart or lung difficulties, to limit exertion when pollution levels are high [34].

Emissions from the manufacturing process

It should not be forgotten that the manufacture of vehicles, and the disposal of vehicles at the end of their life, also releases significant greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Vehicles are large and complex to manufacture. They require the mining, extraction, transport and manufacture of a range of materials, including metals, rubber and plastics. [35]

Vehicle manufacturing plants require a lot of power; this power still often comes from coal-fired power plants, emitting more CO2.

The process of obtaining and refining diesel and petrol also releases pollution.  


End notes

[1] Global Fuel Economy Initiative, FIA Foundation
[2] Road use statistics Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2016
[3] The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future, HM Government, 2011
[4] CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion: highlights, International Energy Agency, 2016
[5] Every Breathe We Take: the life-long impact of air pollution, Royal College of Physicians, 2016
[6] Global Fuel Economy Initiative, FIA Foundation
[7] Global status report on road safety 2015, World Health Organisation, 2016
[8] Road use statistics Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2016
[9] Vehicle Licencing Statistics: December 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, Table VEH0104
[10] Paris Agreement: Essential elements, United Nations framework convention on climate change, 2016
[11] Ibid
[12] Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of the EU and its Member States, European Commission, 2015
[13] Climate Change Act 2008, gov.uk, 2008
[14] The Carbon Plan: Delivering our low carbon future, HM Government, 2011
[15] CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion: highlights, International Energy Agency, 2016
[16] Ibid
[17] Ibid
[18] Black Carbon Research, United States, Energy Protection Agency, accessed: 07.03.2017
[19] Reducing Black Carbon Emissions from Diesel Vehicles: Impacts, Control Strategies, and Cost-Benefit Analysis, The World Bank, 2014
[20] Uherek, E, et al, (2010), Transport Impacts on Atmosphere and Climate: Land Transport, Atmospheric Environment 44 (37): 4772–4816
[21] The Gothenburg Protocol: Guidance documents and other methodological materials for the implementation of the 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone, UNECE
[22] Environment: Ambient air quality directives, European Commission, 2016 
[23] High Court Judgement on ClientEarth 2 vs SSEFA on UK Air Pollution Plans, Royal Courts of Justice, 2016
[24] Particulate matter from modern gasoline engines damages our lungs, University of Bern, 2015
[25] Health Effects of Particulate Matter: Policy implications for countries in eastern Europe, Caucuses and central Asia, World Health Organisation, 2013
[26] Franco, V, et al, Real-world exhaust emissions from diesel cars, International Council on Clean Transport, 2014
[27] Lim SS et al., A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, Lancet, 2012, 380: 2224-2260.
[28] Cohen AJ et al., Urban air pollution. In: Ezzati M et al., eds. Comparative quantification of health risks. Global and regional burden of disease attributable to selected major factors, World Health Organization, 2004, 2(17):1354–1433
[29] Every Breathe We Take: the life-long impact of air pollution, Royal College of Physicians, 2016
[30] Yim, S. & Barrett, S., Public health impacts of combustion emissions in the United Kingdom, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United StatesEnviron. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46 (8), pp 4291–4296
[31] Statistical Release: Emissions of air pollutants in the UK 1970 to 2015, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2016
[32] Improving Air Quality in the UK: Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities UK overview document, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2015
[33] Pollution Graphs: Seven day graph for Lambeth Brixton Road 30 December 2016 -6 January 2017, London Air, 2017
[34] Sadiq Khan unveils action plan to battle London’s toxic air, London Assembly, 2016
[35] Statistical Release: Emissions of air pollutants in the UK 1970 to 2015, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 2016

Date posted: March 2017

Cycle for life - what's it all about?

Winn Solicitors is pleased to support Brake. Visit our site>

cycle4life_2There are many websites that promote cycling, that tell you to get on your bike and get pedalling. There are many websites like that for a good reason - it’s important that we get out of cars and stop polluting the planet. It’s also important that we use our bodies and get fitter - obesity is a major cause of early death.

This website, however, is slightly different. Our objective is to encourage people in the UK to cycle in safety and to raise awareness among drivers of the vulnerability of cyclists. UK cyclists face many risks and have, in many instances, limited facilities - fewer than in more cycle-friendly nations such as the Netherlands. We aim to help you consider the benefits and risks of cycling in a range of situations and, if you decide to cycle, to prepare for it and do it with safety in mind first and foremost.

We believe that:

  • In some instances, it just isn’t safe enough to cycle. You need to make your own mind up - it’s your choice. We want to help you make your decisions with the risks as well as the benefits in mind.
  • A civilised society concerned about the environmental impact of cars should have comprehensive networks of cycle paths, cycle training for all, and low speed limits and speed enforcement in built up areas and on bendy rural roads in particular to protect cyclists and pedestrians. These measures are beginning to be implemented in the UK, but not fast enough.
  • People should be given the knowledge to enable them to campaign for such measures in their communities.

We hope you enjoy the site, that it gives you some useful knowledge, and that it encourages you to get on your bike - in safety.

Brake is a charity entirely reliant on donations. Cycle for life has been made possible by one amazing woman and her supporters - thanks to their fundraising. Read Lynne Beale’s story here…

<< ENTER CYCLE FOR LIFE

 

This page is kindly supported by:

Winns Logo for web

 

Cycling for the environment

cycle4life_3About half our CO2 emissions in the UK are from vehicles. Getting out of our cars and on to our bikes saves the environment for future generations. It also makes communities more pleasant for everyone right now, with cleaner air, less congestion and quieter roads.

You are also choosing a socially responsible option for safety. On a bike, you are on a lightweight object that stands little chance of harming anyone compared with a car.

The British government increased its cycling budget from £10m in 2007 to £60m in 2009/10 and 2010/11. Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport explained why: “Cycling has a major role to play in any sustainable transport strategy. It helps tackle congestion and local air pollution, as well as the emissions that cause climate change. 23% of car trips are less than two miles, a distance easily cycled in less than 15 minutes.”

Useful links:
A Sustainable Future for Cycling, the Government’s action plan on cycling and sustainable transport, shows central Government’s commitment to cycling and is a useful document if you need to talk to your Local Authority about the need for more services for cyclists such as cycle paths.
Smarter Choices is the Government’s campaign to encourage people to use bicycles and walk rather than drive.
Act on CO2 is the Government’s campaign on reducing carbon emissions through individuals’ actions.


Engineering for cyclists >>

<< Cycling for health

<< To bike or not to bike? home page

<< Cycle4life home page

 

Cycling to main facilities

cycle4life_9Do you automatically reach for the car keys every time you need to pop to the shops? Do you always drive to the swimming pool or sports centre? How about visiting friends, going to the pub or cinema or evening classes? If these destinations are within a couple of miles of your home, then leave the car keys behind and hop on your bike, or walk if it isn’t safe to cycle.

Over one fifth of all car journeys today are less than 2 miles. Many of us could cover this distance in less than 15 minutes on a bike, and help reduce traffic volumes and pollution while getting fitter and saving on car park fees.[i] Here are our three top tips to help you overcome barriers to cycling that you might feel are a problem for you, such as the need to carry shopping or children:

  1. Adapt your bike - There are all sorts of add-ons for bikes to enable you to carry stuff and kids. Panniers, trailers, tag-alongs, baskets, racks.
  2. Plan your route - Car drivers choose the fastest, most direct routes to reach their destination. On a bike, there might be a safer route that you don’t know about: if in doubt, talk to your local authority’s road safety unit or cycling officer.
  3. Think through your trip - What are you going to buy and do you have the space to carry it on your bike? Where are you going to park your bike and will it be secure?

Useful links:
London Cycling Campaign tips on carrying loads and cycling with children and preventing theft of your bike.
Cycle4Life page listing route planners
Cycle4Life page on campaigning for safer facilities for cyclists


Travelling by bike and public transport >>

<< Cycling around your community

<< Back to every day cycling

<< Cycle for life home page

 

[i] Department for Transport: A Sustainable Future for Cycling (pdf)

Drive less, plant more - Brake backs Earth Day with call to make sustainable travel choices

News from Brake

21 April 2016
news@brake.org.uk

Brake, the road safety charity is calling on people to support world Earth Day on 22 April 2016 by making sustainable travel choices.

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “plant a tree” to help combat climate change, as trees absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere. But it takes an acre of mature trees to absorb the CO2 produced by just one average car in a single year being driven around 26,000 miles. That’s why Brake is encouraging people to plant trees and also to consider if their journeys can be walked or cycled or taken on public transport instead to help protect our environment.

Road safety is more than driving safely and legally, it’s about making our streets safe and pleasant for everyone to use freely, and doing everything we can to protect ourselves, our environment, and people around us. A big part of that is driving less, as little as possible, or not at all if you can. It’s common for people to habitually walk the few metres from their front door to their car and drive, even if they’re only going round the corner. A quarter of car journeys (23%) are less than two miles[1] . People who walk or cycle often have to face busy, noisy streets, full of pollution and fast traffic.

Brake has produced an interactive map so people can see just how much of a problem CO2 is where they live and how many deaths are being caused in their area by air pollution: http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/drivelessmap/

Earth Day is now in its 46th year and aims to plant 7.8 billion trees before its 50th anniversary.

Alice Bailey communications and campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “From our work with bereaved relatives we see the devastation caused by car crashes, but there is more than one way a vehicle can kill you. Emissions from cars are now a serious concern with many major cities already breaching their yearly air quality limits in a matter of weeks or months. The World Health Organisation is describing air quality as a public health emergency. We want everyone to get behind Earth Day and plant a tree AND also think about how they travel and whether journeys can be made by foot, bike or on public transport to help keep our planet greener, cleaner and healthier.”

About Earth Day

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other ground breaking environmental laws soon followed. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. It is now run by Earth Day Network.

[1] National Travel Survey 2014, Department for Transport, 2015

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.

 

Driver advice: sustainable

Sustainablethumb Everyone can Pledge to – minimise the amount they drive, or not drive at all, and get about by walking, cycling or public transport as much as possible, for road safety, the environment and their health.

Why go eco?

By choosing sustainable travel, we can all help to reduce the road safety, public health, environmental and economic costs to society of our over-reliance on cars. Fewer cars on the road mean fewer road deaths and injuries, less congestion, less emissions and more pleasant, sociable communities.

Whether it’s doing the school run on foot or bike, walking to the local shop instead of driving to the supermarket, or taking public transport to work instead of driving, incorporating active and sustainable travel into your routine can be really simple, and it’s a great way to stay active, save money, and do your bit for the environment.

Use our carbon footprint calculator to see the environmental impact of your driving.
Share our interactive resource to spread the 'Drive less, live more' message. 

Do you need to drive?

GO20-Cars

Two-thirds (64%) of all UK journeys and 40% of journeys less than two miles are made by car, many of which could be made on foot or bike, or by public transport. While each trip may not seem like much, it all adds up to a lot of unnecessary car use.

For each journey you make by car, ask yourself if there’s a more sustainable and healthy option. If it’s a short journey, could you walk or cycle? You can use Sustrans’ website to explore walking and cycling routes in your area and work out the safest, most pleasant way to get to your destination on foot or bike. Get into the habit of leaving the car at home for these shorter journeys and you’ll spend less money on petrol and feel healthier for the exercise – plus you’ll be helping to make your area a nicer, less polluted place.

For longer journeys could you take a bus, train or coach instead? If you book in advance, the cost of tickets can often work out cheaper than what you’d spend on petrol and you can sit back and relax without the stress of driving. You can look up public transport options by region at www.traveline.info.

Commuting

If you drive to and from work, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to switch to a sustainable commute, which may be quicker, cheaper, healthier and less stressful. Research shows that people who commute by walking and cycling better able to concentrate and are less stressed. Look online at your local travel information to see what sustainable transport options you have, including bus routes, train services and safe cycle paths.

If you want to cycle to work but don’t own a bike, find out if your employer participates in the government’s Cycle to Work initiative, which allows you to purchase a new bike (and related equipment like cycle paths) tax-free, and pay monthly straight from your salary. If they aren’t signed up to the scheme, direct a relevant member of staff to details of the benefits to employers and encourage them to sign up. Read Brake’s advice on cycling.

Safe cycling

GO20Cyclist

Cycling is healthy, low-cost and environmentally friendly way to travel. Go to Brake’s cycling advice pages for further information on how to keep safe while cycling.

If you have to drive

If there are journeys that you have to make by car, there are some simple steps you can take to minimise the negative impacts of this on you and the people around you:

  • Make the Brake Pledge, a simple six point pledge to help keep you and others safe on the road and prevent needless tragedies.
  • Keep to a lower speed and avoid harsh braking and acceleration to produce fewer emissions and improve fuel efficiency. In particular, slow down to 20mph or below in built up areas, even where the speed limit is 30. It’s unlikely to affect your journey time significantly, but it will mean your car is less polluting because there is less speeding up and slowing down, and  it will mean you’re helping to make roads safer for people on foot and bike. See our advice on speed.
  • The same principle applies on faster roads. For each 5mph you drive over 60mph, you use 7% more fuel. Slower is not only safer, but it’s better for the environment and will save you money on petrol
  • Plan your journeys more efficiently. If you have a number of errands to do or journeys to make, can they be combined into the same trip? Make sure you still allow plenty of time for driving at safe, slow speeds, possible hold-ups, and breaks every two hours.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. A well maintained vehicle produces fewer emissions and is more fuel efficient. Simple things like keeping your tyres well inflated, cleaning or replacing dirty air and fuel filters, and regularly changing your oil can improve fuel efficiency. Read our advice on vehicle maintenance.

 Page updated June 2015

Government proposals to reduce air pollution: charity accuses ministers of abdication of responsibility

News from Brake

5 May 2017 
news@brake.org.uk

 

The government has today (5th May) produced a draft air pollution consultation after a protracted legal battle with campaigners.

The government is seeking views on these proposals in advance of preparing its final plan for publication by 31 July. All final decisions will be taken by the incoming government. The consultation will run until 15 June.

The proposals suggest it is for local authorities to develop plans for clean air zones. There is also a suggestion that speed bumps on local roads could be removed, as well as other ‘traffic management measures’.

According to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution across the UK is linked to around 40,000 premature deaths every year.

The UK has struggled to keep within EU limits on some pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is produced by diesel engines and is linked to a range of respiratory diseases including asthma. Some 37 of the 43 regions of the UK are in breach of NO2 limits.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for Brake, the road safety and sustainable transport charity, said: “These proposals had to be dragged out of the government, who fought against it in the courts, and lost. We will study the details in the plan, but the headlines give us cause for concern. It appears the government has abdicated responsibility for reducing air pollution to local authorities. If any issue needs tackling on a national – and international – level, it’s this one. We have a national health emergency, and the government is kicking the issue into the long grass.

“The idea that removing speed bumps on local roads will somehow reduce air pollution is both cynical and misguided. Most of the pollution comes from vehicles travelling on major routes, in big urban conurbations. Speed bumps are a red herring and the government knows it.”

Note to editors

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.

Modern Vehicles: Learn More

Read about the campaign to modernise our wheels, and follow the links to learn more.

Crash prevention (Active safety measures)

Some vehicles on Britain's roads are already partially-automated thanks to sensor technology using cameras, radar and lasers. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can give warnings, or take action for a driver; for example automatically apply brakes in an emergency. Technology can control vehicles within posted speed limits or warn drivers they are exceeding a limit. Vehicles can be fitted with systems that identify driver impairment; for example, alcohol and drowsiness detection systems. Mirror and camera systems can provide a greater range of vision for drivers; of particular benefit in the largest vehicles. While a few of these systems are legally required, many are not as yet. Go to our ADAS Fact Check. and our Alcohol and Distraction Detection Systems Fact Check

Crash protection (Passive safety measures)

It is always better to prevent a crash but crash protection systems (passive safety measures) save lives and more needs to be done to ensure passive safety developments are prioritised on vehicles from air bags that protect occupants to softer vehicle exteriors to mitigate injury to vulnerable road users. Read our fact check on passive safety measures for occupant safety, our fact check on passive safety measures on cars for the safety of vulnerable road users including people on foot and bicycles, and our Seat Belt Reminders Fact Check

EC review of vehicle safety regulations

The EC is currently revising its regulations governing minimum standards for active and passive safety measures, which affects standards of cars sold in the UK. Go to our EU Vehicle Safety Standards Review Fact Check.

Clean revolution: Ultra Low-Emission Vehicles (ULEVs)

Clean vehicles are a crucial part of cleaning up our country. Estimates place transport as causing up to a quarter of carbon emissions contributing to global warming, and it is a major cause of poor air quality from NOx and particulates, contributing to tens of thousands of deaths from respiratory conditions. The British government has a vision of every car being ULEV by 2040, and sales of ULEVs are rocketing; it's easier and cheaper to buy an electric ULEV now, thanks to a grant scheme and an increase in charging stations. The government is also encouraging take up of hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles, particularly among fleets. But ULEVs still make up a tiny fraction of vehicles on Britain's roads (just over 1%).  Read our Climate Change and Air Pollution Fact Check. Read our fact check on Diesel Cars and NOx emissions

Driverless vehicles

The future's arriving fast. Vehicles with 'auto-pilot' functions are already on our roads. Highly-automated vehicles (requiring a driver to step in only for complex driving tasks) and fully-automated vehicles (entirely driverless), ranging from small city 'pods' to large trucks on motorways, are already in circulation as prototypes and could be on Britain's roads before 2020 and replace other vehicles by 2030. In 2017, the government is aiming to change Britain's legislative framework to allow driverless vehicles. In 2017, trials will also start on Britain's public roads of fully-automated and highly-automated vehicles, "connected" through wireless technology (meaning they receive information about each other and their wider environment including road information). Trials will include platooning trucks; a convoy of trucks connected to a lead vehicle. Driverless vehicles are a reality; the challenge is to regulate them in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair for everyone.  Read our Driverless Vehicles Fact Check and Brake's position on them.