Articles Tagged ‘health - 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

 

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…

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Cycling for health

cycle4life_11Cycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. People who exercise for 30 minutes a day have a greater life expectancy and lower risk of disease than those who are sedentary. [1] Regular exercise reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by half. Other diseases such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus and depression are also less frequent among people who exercise regularly. [2]

If you have access to quiet roads or cycle paths in your community, it can be an easy way to exercise while also saving time; for example, by cycling to work rather than being stuck in a traffic queue.

Cycling to work, school or the shops is a great way to get fit, feel good and manage your weight. Modern bikes are lightweight and many are affordable. They can also be fitted with panniers and baskets that can carry a surprising amount; a lot easier to carry on a bike than on foot.

While the British weather can sometimes be intimidating to first-time cyclists, what looks like a shockingly 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. Pushing your bike up a hill still counts as exercise, and if it’s got you out of a car then you are saving the environment too.

Useful links:
Cycling for health and fitness - CTC pages
The Government’s walking and cycling action plan showing Government commitment to cycling


Cycling for the environment >>

<< Personal tragedies, predictable causes

<< To bike or not to bike? home page

<< Cycle4life home page 

     

 

 

[1] Powell KE, Thompson PD, Caspersen CJ, Kendrick JS. Physical activity and the incidence of coronary heart disease. Ann Rev Public Health 1987;8:253-87. [Medline]
[2] Berlin JA, Colditz GA. A meta-analysis of physical activity in the prevention of coronary heart disease. Am J Epidemiol 1990;132:612-28. [Abstract/Free Full Text]

Cycling routes and cyclist safety

sustainablethumbtext

Key facts

  • In Great Britain only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [1];
  • In 2015, there were 100 cycling fatalities and 3,239 cyclist serious injuries on the roads in Great Britain [2];
  • Transport accounts for a fifth (21%) of UK greenhouse gas emissions [3];
  • Physical inactivity accounts for one in six deaths in the UK [4];
  • Deaths due to physical inactivity are believed to cost the wider economy £7.4 billion; [5]
  • Almost three quarters of collisions with cyclists occur at a junction [6].

Introduction

Cycling is one of the healthiest, cheapest, most environmentally-friendly forms of transport available. Unfortunately, the UK lags behind many other countries when it comes to cycling levels. 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 [7]. In Great Britain only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike. A survey of UK teenagers by Brake and insurer RSA Group found that one in four (23%) never cycle, and only 9% cycle weekly or more [8].

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 [9]. Sadly, cycling on roads continues to involve risk: in 2014, 100 cyclists were killed and 3,237 seriously injured in Great Britain [10].

The benefits of safer cycling

Making cycling safer can encourage more people to get about by bike, which benefits the environment and 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 [11].

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. Public Health England advises that over a week, people should carry out at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) of moderate intensity activity, separated into periods of over ten minutes each [12]. 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 [13]. Improved health from cycling would also benefit the economy; deaths due to physical inactivity are believed to cost the wider economy £7.4 billion [14].

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 [15], so if individuals drive less or not at all it means they pose less danger to others. There is also some international evidence for the “safety in numbers” theory that more cyclists on the roads creates a safer environment for cyclists. For example, cycling in London increased 91% between 2000 and 2009, and cycle casualties fell 33% in the same period [16]. European data shows that countries with high levels of cycling, such as Norway and the Netherlands, have lower cyclist death rates [17]. This is thought to be down to factors including: drivers become more used to sharing the road with cyclists, so are more careful around them; drivers are more likely to be cyclists themselves, so understand cyclist behaviour; more people substitute cycling for driving, meaning fewer cars on the roads; and more people cycling means more political pressure to improve road conditions for cyclists.

Preventing cyclist deaths and serious injuries means preventing needless and acute human suffering and carries a significant economic benefit: every road death is estimated to cost the British economy £1.8 million, due to the burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs, insurance pay-outs, and human costs [18]. This means that in 2014, cyclist deaths alone cost Britain £180 million, alongside thousands of families having to face the horror and trauma of a bereavement or serious injury.

Take action: Make the Brake Pledge to minimise the amount you drive, or not drive at all, and get about by walking, cycling or public transport as much as possible.The Pledge also asks drivers to stay well within speed limits and go 20 or below around homes, schools and shops, to protect people on foot and bike.

Protecting cyclists

Evidence shows that taking a concerted approach to encouraging cycling does make a difference: the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have far higher rates of cycling compared to the UK, across all sectors of society [19]. A developed cycling infrastructure makes cyclists safer; as one of the most important factors affecting cycling levels is people’s perceptions of cyclist safety [20], improving the infrastructure increases the number of cyclists.

Safe routes

Improving cycling infrastructure is a key way of making it safer to cycle. These routes should form networks that are useful, joining places where people live and work, as well as giving access to public transport.

The safest routes for cyclists are where cyclists are physically separated from motor traffic. A Canadian study found that cyclists on these routes have one ninth the risk of injury compared to a busy road with parked cars [21]. The impact of a well-designed cycle route can be dramatic, and benefit all road users: building a cycling route along Prospect Park West in New York City reduced crashes resulting in injury by 68%, plus far fewer cyclists rode on the pavement inconveniencing pedestrians, and travel times for drivers did not increase [22]. Shared-use paths are shared between pedestrians and cyclists. If properly designed, and wide enough for both to use comfortably, these can also be a safe option [23].  

On-road cycle lanes, where there is no physical separation between cyclists and fast-moving traffic, can be of limited benefit, especially if used in isolation without other steps to reduce risks and hazards for cyclists, such as junction improvements. These can be considered a quick and cheap option, yet in fact need to be designed as carefully as any piece of infrastructure. Transitioning from a cycle path and entering traffic can be dangerous, and any design has to take this into account.

With three-quarters of collisions with cyclists happening at junctions [24], any cycling infrastructure must be designed with junctions particularly in mind. Care and attention must be given by councils and traffic authorities for designing infrastructure that is properly designed and effective in preventing casualties.

Speed limits

Lowering traffic speeds is one of the key ways our communities and country roads can be made safer for people walking and cycling (read our fact pages on speed in the community and speed on country roads to learn more). This is crucial alongside having traffic-free routes, especially so people feel able to cycle around their own neighbourhoods. In 2015, 80% of cycling collisions occurred on a 30mph road [25], this is why Brake campaigns for the national default urban speed limit to be reduced to 20mph and for lower speeds on country roads.

Take action: Campaign in your community for 20mph limits by downloading our GO 20 toolkit and using our community campaign guide.

Vehicle design

Cyclists are particularly vulnerable at junctions: three quarters of collisions involving cyclists are at or near a junction [26].

While all drivers must take care to protect vulnerable road users, larger vehicles pose a particular risk when turning and manoeuvring as a result of their larger blind-spots. There are technologies that can reduce blind spots on these vehicles, including sensors, and CCTV systems. In London, the CLOCS scheme has set standards for construction vehicles in the capital for protecting cyclists.

Read more: Advice for protecting vulnerable road users for employers with staff who drive for work is available for members of Global Fleet Champions.


End notes

[1] National Travel Survey 2015, Department for Transport, 2016

[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2015, table RAS20006

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

[4] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[5] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[6] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016, table RAS20006

[7] Future of Transport: analytical report, European Commission, 2011

[8] Make streets safer for cycling to build on Tour de France fever, Brake and RSA, 2014

[9] Brake and Direct Line Report on Safe Driving: A Risky Business, Brake, 2011

[10] Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2013, Department for Transport, 2014

[11] 2012 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2014

[12] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[13] Benefits of cycling,NHS Choices, 2014

[14] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[15] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016

[16] Safety in numbers in England, CTC, 2009

[17] Pedalling towards safety, European Transport Safety Council, 2012

[18] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016, table RAS60001

[19] Making Cycling Irresistible: Lessons from The  Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, Rutgers University, 2008

[20] The Dutch Reference Study: Cases of interventions in bicycle infrastructure reviewed in the framework of Bikeability, Delft Institute of Technology, 2011

[21] Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study, University of British Columbia, 2012

[22] Prospect Park West Bicycle Path and Traffic Calming, New York City

[23] Guidance on shared-use paths, Gov.uk 

[24] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016, table RAS20006

[25] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016

[26] Reported road casualties Great Britain: annual report 2015, Department for Transport, 2016, table RAS20006

Updated August 2016

Driving for zero: vision and ill-health

Vision Express are proud to sponsor this campaign.

CAMSlider grey sharpenupHaving good eyesight is essential to safe driving. Yet some drivers fail to get their eyes tested regularly, some going years or even decades without checking their vision is up to scratch. Others put themselves and others in danger by driving without their glasses or lenses. Poor vision is estimated to cause 2,900 road casualties every year.

Currently, drivers of cars, vans and motorbikes are only required to have their eyesight checked once, when they take their driving test, by reading a number-plate – a method that doesn't accurately measure vision over distance, and fails to check peripheral vision or other vision problems. Beyond this, when they hit age 70, drivers must simply declare their vision meets legal requirements. We believe this is grossly inadequate. Read more about driver eyesight. and try out Brake’s 'Sharpen up' interactive resource to see the importance of regular eye tests for drivers.

A person’s fitness to drive can also be affected by ill-health. Some long and short term illnesses can result in reduced driving capability, as the driver experiences deterioration in mental and/or physical capacity due to either the illness or the medication prescribed to treat it. 'Driver or rider illness or disability, mental or physical' is estimated to have contributed to 2,289 road crashes and 121 road crashes resulting in fatalities in 2015. 

The Driver & vehicle licencing agency (DVLA) publishes a list of medical conditions that can affect driving capabilities, including those conditions that require the driver to alert the DVLA of their diagnosis before getting behind the wheel. In some cases medical practitioners will inform their patient that they are unfit to drive and advise them to inform the DVLA, it is then the individual's responsibility to do so. 

What are we calling for?

We need the Government to act to improve defective driver vision on our roads, by:

  • Making eyesight testing compulsory before the driving test. This must replace the current 20m licence plate testing that fails to account for peripheral vision and the driver's sensitivity to light;
  • Making eyesight testing compulsory when a driver renews their photocard license (every ten years);
  • Raising awareness of the importance of regular eyesight tests, at least every two years, by providing reminders e.g. on motorway gantries and DVLA vehicle tax documentation. 

Drivers also have a role to play:

  • If a driver requires contact lenses or glasses to correct their vision, these should be worn at all times behind the wheel;
  • Drivers should have their eyesight tested every two years, even if their vision appears to have remained the same;
  • If a driver notices anything wrong with their vision they should have an eye test straight away;

Take action

 

Campaign news

Brake backs calls for changes to how we are deemed "fit to drive" after inquiry finds that  crash that killed six people could have been prevented, 08/12/2015
Charity welcomes General Medical Council's strengthening of guidelines on reporting medically 'unfit' drivers reporting medically 'unfit' drivers
, 25/11/2015 
Thought-provoking 'Sharpen up' interactive resource launched, 21/08/2015
Charity urges government to make driver eyesight tests compulsory, 21/08/2014
Campaign calls on drivers to sharpen up, as survey reveals many fail to get sight tested, 06/08/2013
Brake reaction: thousands of casualties caused by poor driver vision, 02/11/2012
Brake campaign briefing on driver eyesight, 02/11/2012
Optical professionals encouraged to support Road Safety Week, 26/10/2012
Brake responds to DVLA consultation on changes to driver licensing laws, 24/02/2012
Brits take their eyes off the road, 01/02/2012
Meg Munn MP wins road safety award for campaign on driver eyesight, 05/01/2012
Proposals to weaken driver eyesight test criticised by Brake and bereaved family, 31/03/2011
Brake response to government consultation proposing to make number-plate test easier, 07/03/2011

VE Small

Look After Yourself

cycle4life_7Getting on your bike is a great way of getting around, but it’s important to do it safely. Every day, ten children in Britain are hurt while out on their bikes. Some of these children are hurt very seriously, and some even die [i].

Cycle in the safest place

Choose carefully where you cycle. The best places are in parks or on trails where you are safely away from traffic - check you are allowed to cycle there first. Many children cycle on the pavements around their home, but this might not always be safe. Cars might suddely appear in driveways, or mount pavements, or drive down your road faster than normal. Get off your bike to cross roads, looking and listening before you wheel your bike across. Never cycle on pavements if you can’t control your bike properly. You need to be able to keep yourself well away from the road and stop when you need to.

Get trained

Having training on how to cycle safely helps you stay safe. Many schools run this training for children aged about 10, but if your school doesn’t, find out more about it here and ask a parent to try to get it for your school.

Cycling on roads

Only cycle on roads if you have passed a course that has trained you to follow the Highway Code and proven your have good road sense and bike control. But sadly, even if you’ve passed, it might not be safe to cycle on roads near where you live because of dangerous traffic. If so, campaign for cycle paths in your town by clicking here. It’s impossible to know if the next car round the next corner will be driven slowly and safely, or fast and dangerously. Sometimes drivers are even drunk or on the phone. If you are going to cycle on roads, plan your journey on the safest roads. These might be quiet roads or roads with separate cycle paths or wide cycle lanes. Always follow the rules you were taught on your course.

If you don’t feel safe

If you are cycling on a road and get scared by fast traffic or traffic driving too close to you, then you are scared for a good reason. Get off and move onto a pavement, and push your bike to a safer place to cycle. Better to be safe than sorry. Talk to a parent about how you felt, and see if they can help you find safer routes to use.

Useful links:

Skillz on Wheelz (cycling tips for older kids)
Bike Week - get involved and help get more people on their bikes in your town!


Look after your bike >>

<< Back to kidz on wheelz

<< Cycle4life home page

 

 [i] Department for Transport, RCGB Table 30a Casualties: by age band1, road user type and severity: 2007

Our vision, values and aims

We believe that safe and healthy mobility is everyone’s human right wherever we are; in cities, towns, villages or moving between places. We should all be able to move in a safe and healthy way, as part of our normal day. This means:

  • on short journeys, it is normal, safe and healthy to travel in active ways, such as walking and cycling.

  • on longer journeys, it is normal, safe and healthy to use transport we share with others and get to this transport actively, by walking or cycling.  

  • our vehiclesserve our needs and don’t get in our way or poison the air we breathe. A death or serious injury on roads is a rare and unusual event.

Read our full vision and campaign agenda for safe and healthy mobility here.

Vision Zero

 Our values

  • Do the right thing We champion proven solutions that: enable people to be safe and healthy; and that enable care for road crash victims.

  • Reach high We demand and expect ambitious change in light of the gravity of the atrocities.

  • Work together We can all be part of the solution and we will work with everyone who shares our vision and values.

 Our strategic aims (2020-2023)

1 ACT AT THE TOP

We will call for people in charge to implement evidence-based policies and investments that progress us towards safe and healthy mobility and that help road crash victims.

2 ACT LOCAL

We will help people to be champions for our cause, taking evidence-based actions: personally; within their communities and organisations; and at a national level too.

3 SUPPORT ROAD CRASH VICTIMS

We will support people bereaved and seriously injured by road crashes on their journey to recovery; through evidence-based, quality services.

 

 

Safety concerns are barrier to delivering walking and cycling benefits, says charity

Tuesday 10 February 2015

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

A guidance report released today (10 February 2015) by road safety charity Brake suggests that fears over safety by young people and their parents are posing a serious barrier to young people walking and cycling, preventing great benefits being delivered to health and wellbeing.

Brake surveyed 1,301 11-17 year olds in secondary schools and colleges across the UK, finding almost half (47%) said parental worries were preventing them from starting cycling or cycling more.

Increased walking and cycling promise huge economic and public health benefits, with recent research claiming that hitting ambitious cycling targets could net the nation £248 billion by 2050 [1].

However, fears over safety act as a persistent barrier to cycling take-up in the UK and to promoting more active lifestyles (see facts below). Brake’s report also found:

  • two in five (38%) 11-17 year olds cite a lack of safe routes as a barrier to cycling
  • four in 10 (41%) think traffic in their area is too fast for the safety of people on foot and bike
  • nearly four in 10 (37%) think their area needs more pavements, paths and cycle paths

With 504 12-15 year olds killed or seriously injured while walking, and 186 while cycling, in the UK in 2013 [2], these concerns are understandable and must be addressed.

The findings reinforce the urgent need for a cycling and walking investment strategy, as proposed by the government as part of the Infrastructure Bill making its way through parliament. The proposal has been welcomed by Brake and many other road safety, sustainable transport and public health organisations. Brake believes it is critical that the Infrastructure Bill includes a long term commitment to investing in more segregated routes to improve the safety – and perceived safety – of walking and cycling.

The widespread adoption of 20mph limits in cities, towns and villages is also critical to creating safe and inviting walking and cycling environments. 20mph limits are a tried and tested way to cut pedestrian and cyclist casualties [3], and increase levels of walking and cycling [4]. In the run-up to the general election, through its GO 20 campaign, Brake is calling on all parties to include a commitment to 20mph as the default urban speed limit as a key manifesto pledge.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“All parents want their children to be healthy and happy, and many would love to see them walking and cycling more to achieve that. Young people want this too: it’s crucial to their health, wellbeing, and social and economic lives that they can get around easily and cheaply. That so many teenagers are being held back from walking and cycling by safety fears, in spite of its great benefits, is a shocking indictment of our road infrastructure. With the car as king in transport planning, walkers and cyclists have been for too long treated as second-class citizens. The safety of people on foot and bike is hugely important, as is enabling more people to make sustainable, active travel choices without fear of traffic danger. It is vital that the government builds this into long term transport planning, through the Infrastructure Bill, investment in safe walking and cycling routes, and making 20mph limits the norm in towns, cities and villages.”

Educators, youth workers and road safety professionals can recieve a free copy of the report from this form.

About Brake’s GO 20 campaign

Brake is part of a broad coalition of organisations calling for more local authorities to adopt widespread 20mph limits, and for the government to make 20mph the national urban default, through its GO 20 campaign. Tweet us:@Brakecharity, hashtag #GO20.

Why GO 20?

  • Fewer casualties: at 20, drivers have far more time to react in an emergency. Studies show when 20 limits replace 30, there are fewer casualties among pedestrians and cyclists [5].
  • More walking and cycling: danger from traffic is a major barrier in enabling more people to walk and cycle. Town and city-wide 20 limits have resulted in more people walking and cycling [6].
  • Healthier, happier people: More walking and cycling means healthier people, and more enjoyable outdoors activity for kids and adults. It helps communities interact and be communities.
  • Less pollution:GOing 20 means lower emissions from vehicle journeys [7]. Plus if more people can switch their commute or school run to foot or bike, it means less polluting traffic.
  • Lower costs: Poor health from inactivity costs society dearly [8]. Road casualties cost even more, due to the suffering and burden on health and emergency services [9]. Preventing casualties and improving health means GOing 20 pays for itself many times over [10]. It also helps people save money by choosing the cheapest ways to get about: foot and bike.

The facts: sustainable and active travel

For the population of England, in 2013, 64% of all trips were by car as a driver or passenger, 22% of all trips were on foot, and 1% by bike. Trips made on foot have declined by 30% since 1995 [11].

Two-thirds of British adults are overweight or obese, as are a third of students in year six (ages 10-11). Obese children tend to become obese adults. Safe walking and cycling is a key component of the government’s scheme to combat obesity [12].

Road danger is a major barrier in encouraging more people to walk and cycle. Eight in 10 people (79%) say they would walk and cycle more if local roads were safer [13].

Case studies

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

Violet Atkinson, Steven’s mother, says: “After everything Steven went through, I am so proud of him. He never looked at his health as a problem and lived every day to the full. No words can describe the grief our family has gone through since his death. There’s a piece of us missing and there’s no way to escape that. My son is gone. I will never see him again, and it will never get easier. I don’t want another mother to experience the pain of seeing her child die. I’m appealing to drivers to slow down to 20mph in communities and look out for pedestrians and cyclists. And I’m backing Brake’s calls for government to invest in safer streets for walking and cycling, for children, families and people of all ages.’’

Guy Preston, 18, from Beverley was knocked from his bike in 2010 by a car travelling along the A1079. He spent three weeks in hospital suffering terrible pain and lost the majority of his childhood memories, alongside the ability to run or play football. Find out more.

Guy says: “Those three weeks after the crash were some of my darkest moments. Going from being so independent to needing support with every activity is a crushing blow to an individual’s self-esteem. My family was my rock, but every day was an immense struggle, and I felt lonely and isolated. Throughout my three years at university, my injuries were still a burden. To this day, I experience constant pain and aching in my left leg. On a good day, I can tolerate the aching, but on a bad day, I am unable to walk and confined to my bed. Despite my disabilities, I am hopeful for the future. I will never be able to run again. I will never be able to dance at my wedding, or play football with my children. I have lost almost all my memories from my childhood, and I still struggle to remember things in my day-to-day life. But I realise I am lucky to be alive. I’m fully behind Brake’s campaign to stop people being injured and killed while walking and cycling. We all should be able to get around without fearing for our lives.’’

Notes to editors

About the report

These figures come from the Brake guidance report: ‘safer walking and cycling for secondary students’, released today (10 February 2015). It is based on a survey of 1,301 11-17 year-olds, created and promoted by Brake and carried out by secondary schools and colleges across the UK in 2013-14 through ‘hands-up’ surveys in 61 lessons, assemblies and workshops.

Brake

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

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

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

End notes

[1] Research shows growth in cycling could be worth £1/4 trillion, CTC, 2015http://www.ctc.org.uk/news/20150120-research-shows-growth-cycling-worth-%25C2%25BC-trillion-england%25E2%2580%2599s-economy
[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[3]For example,20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001; 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[4]Where widespread 20 limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20%Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[5] For example,20mph speed reduction initiative, Scottish Executive Central Research Unit, 2001; 20mph Speed Limit Pilots Evaluation Report, Warrington Borough Council, 2010
[6] Where widespread 20 limits have been introduced levels of walking and cycling increased by 20%Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012
[7]Environmental effects of 30 km/h in urban areas – with regard to exhaust emissions and noise, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, 1999
[8] The annual costs of physical inactivity in England are estimated at £8.2 billion.At least five a week - evidence on the impact of physical activity and its relationship to health - a report from the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, 2004
[9] Road casualties in Britain cost an estimated £34.8billion in 2011, due to the burden on health and emergency services, criminal justice costs, insurance payouts, and human costs. Reported road casualties Great Britain annual reports 2011, Department for Transport, 2012
[10] In Bristol, 20mph resulted in a massive return on investment because of cost savings to the health service through increased physical activity. They used theWorld Health Organisation’s Health Economic Assessment Tool to estimate the changes in costs. They found for every £1 spent they saw a return of £24.72 through increased walking and £7.47 through increased in cycling.Citywide Rollout of 20mph speed limits, Bristol City Council Cabinet, 2012.  Reducing speeds in urban environments reduces casualties. For each 1mph speed reduction, casualties decrease by 5%, The effects of drivers’ speed on the frequency of road accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 2000, fewer crashes reduces the burden on the NHS, emergency services and local economy.  Each death on roads costs £1.7 million and each serious injury costs £190,000, Reported road casualties Great Britain 2011, Department for Transport, 2012
[11] Travel Survey: England 2013, Department for Transport, 2014https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342160/nts2013-01.pdf
[12] Obesity and the environment: increasing physical activity and active travel, Public Health England, 2013https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/256796/Briefing_Obesity_and_active_travel_final.pdf
[13] Eight in 10 back 20mph limits as charity takes campaign to parliament, Brake, 2014,http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1202-go20reception

Speed limits in communities

Key facts

  • In 2016, 69 children under 15 were killed and 2,033 were seriously injured on British roads: that’s more than five children seriously hurt or killed every day; [i]
  • The likelihood of a cyclist being killed per distance travelled in the UK is approximately two times that of the Netherlands, Denmark or Norway; [ii]
  • In 2016, including short walks, people walked an average of 198 miles, or around 4 miles per week, and a quarter (25%) of journeys and just 3% of miles travelled in Britain are now on foot;[iv]
  • Just 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled were made by bicycle in 2015;[v]
  • 69% of respondents to the British Social Attitude Survey (2016) were favour of 20mph in residential areas and 50% in favour of enforcing this limit and slowing traffic through the installation of speed bumps on key local routes;[vi]
  • One in six deaths in the UK can be attributed to medical conditions attributable to inactivity, such as cardiovascular disease;[vii]
  • Four in 10 drivers admit they sometimes break 30mph speed limits by at least 10mph. A quarter (24%) admitted to doing this regularly, at least once a month.[viii]

Introduction

Towns, villages and cities should be places where people are free to travel in ways that are safe, sustainable, healthy and fair. Unfortunately, in many places in the UK inappropriate speed limits where people live, work and play make movement dangerous, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians, including children and the elderly.[ix]

Faster speeds not only make a community more dangerous, it also affects people’s perceptions of danger, and can be a determining factor in people deciding not to walk or cycle. Speed affects a driver’s ability to ‘accurately and reliably process information in the traffic environment’; an ability that is vital for safe driver performance, particularly in communities where vulnerable road users are prevalent.[x]

Unfortunately, many drivers break speed limits in built-up areas. A Brake and Direct Line survey revealed four in 10 drivers sometimes break 30mph speed limits by at least 10mph. A quarter (24%) admitted to doing this at least once a month.[xi]

It is widely understood that 20mph is the most appropriate maximum speed limit for built up areas where people live, work and play.  

Take action: Support Brake’s GO 20 campaign to make 20mph the default speed limit in towns, cities and villages to make walking and cycling safer.

Safe

Effective speed management, including through low limits in communities, is considered central to a ‘safe system’ approach to road safety, crucial to reducing casualties and enabling walking and cycling. The safe system principle acknowledges that people can make mistakes behind the wheel and that there are known limits to ‘the capacity of the human body to absorb kinetic energy before harm occurs’. Within a safe system, effective speed management works holistically with vehicle design, road infrastructure and road user behaviour, to produce an overall safety effect greater than the sum of its parts.[xii]

Speed limits give road users information about the type of road and likely hazards on it, such as the presence of people on foot and bicycles in communities.[xiii]

The World Health Organisation has emphasised the need for 20mph limits, stating that in areas where ‘motorised traffic mixes with pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders, the speed limit must be under 30 km/h (20mph)’ due the vulnerability of these road users.[xiv]

Slower speeds mean stopping in time for a child

In 2016, 69 children under 15 were killed and 2,033 were seriously injured on British roads: more than five children seriously hurt or killed every day.[xv]

20mph limits are important for protecting children, who often make mistakes when using roads. Research has found children cannot judge the speed of approaching vehicles travelling faster than 20mph, so may believe it is safe to cross when it is not.[xvi]

A limit of 20mph gives drivers a much improved chance to stop in time for a child. If a child runs into the road three car lengths ahead of a vehicle travelling at 30mph (48km/h), the driver will still be travelling at 28mph (45km/h) when they hit the child. A driver travelling at the more appropriate speed of 20mph or slower gives the driver just the necessary time to avoid hitting the child, providing they are paying attention, have well-maintained brakes, and are driving in dry conditions.[xvii]

20mph limits reduce traffic speed

Analysis of traffic casualties in London from 1986-2006 showed 20mph zones, introduced with traffic calming measures (such as speed humps and chicanes) reduced deaths and serious injuries by 42%.[xviii]

However, with traffic calming measures, such as speed humps, carrying a considerable expense to install, signs-only limits can be considered a “cheap option” by local authorities and central government. While certainly cheaper than the introduction of physical measures, there are still considerable costs involved with implementing 20mph limits. Many of these costs, however, could be eliminated through a change in regulations, without the need for additional primary legislation. Often the largest cost of the implementation of 20mph limits is signage.

A study by the TRL in 1998 found that the impact of different measures were as follows for moving from 30 to 20mph speed limits[xix]:

  • Physical traffic calming measures reduce both mean and 85th percentile speeds by around 10mph;
  • Speed cameras reduce mean 85th percentile speeds by 5mph;
  • Flashing, vehicle-activated signs reduce mean and 85th percentile speeds by 4mph;
  • Signs-only measures in general have a mean reduction of 2mph, but for 20mph limits this is 1mph;
  • In areas with signs-only limits, public awareness and enforcement campaigns can have a further reduction of around 3mph.

Public acceptance of 20mph limits

Increasingly, people understand the value of 2omph limits. In one recent survey, three quarters of people (69%) were in favour of 20mph in residential areas and 50% in favour of enforcing this limit and slowing traffic through the installation of speed bumps on key local routes.[xx]

Sustainable

Each year in the UK, around 40,000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, with more linked also to exposure to indoor pollutants.[xxi] According to the World Health Organization’s database, 88% of urban dwellers live in cities which do not comply with the Air Quality Guidelines.[xxii] Vehicles on the road have contributed significantly to levels of emissions in urban areas, with current estimates suggesting that in the UK alone, cars are producing 13% of our CO2 emissions.[xxiii]

Driving at more than 20mph in towns and villages also means more speeding up and slowing down, increasing carbon emissions.[xxiv] Slowing down traffic to a top speed of 20mph enables smoother driving, decreasing emissions, and also encouraging and enabling people to swap from driving to cycling.[xxv] This can have a big impact on a community's air quality as well as contributing to reduced carbon emissions.

In 2016, the British Social Attitude Survey asked recipients if they agreed with the statement that ‘the road is too dangerous to cycle on’, 59% of respondents agreed.[xxvi]

Healthy

In the UK it is currently estimated that one in six deaths can be attributed to inactivity[xxvii], and Minister for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, described childhood obesity within England as a ‘national emergency’. Daily physical activity is hugely important for maintaining health and research has shown that half an hour of brisk walking, daily, can cut heart disease, improve muscle strength[xxviii], and combat depression and other mental illnesses[xxix].

Active travel, most obviously walking and cycling within and between communities, provides a key opportunity for this physical exercise. Unfortunately, many people, especially those with children, are put off walking and cycling due to traffic speeds. A Brake and Churchill survey found almost six in ten UK parents (59%) had witnessed drivers speeding close to their child’s school or nursery.[xxx]

In 2016, including short walks, people walked an average of 198 miles, or around 4 miles per week, and a quarter (25%) of journeys and just 3% of miles travelled in Britain are now on foot.[xxxi]

Similarly, cycling still only accounts for a very small proportion of journeys in Britain, and road safety is a major factor in putting many people off. Just 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are made by bike.[xxxii]

Women, non-cyclists and older age groups showed higher levels of concern over roads being too dangerous to cycle on.[xxxiii]

Introduction of 20mph limits helps people to undertake active travel; walking and cycling levels rose in most areas of in Bristol after a pilot 20mph limit was introduced.[xxxiv]

Fair  

Streets are an important aspect of local communities, people rely on them on a daily basis for travel, shopping, social interaction and work. Unfortunately, the volume and speed of motorised traffic within an area can negatively impact on local communities, reducing social interaction within neighbourhoods and encouraging an increasing sense of isolation in residents in higher speed areas.[xxxv] A 2016 study in Malmo, Sweden, stressed that urban spaces could be crucial to the social development of a community and the building of social bonds between residents.[xxxvi]

A case study in Bristol found people living on a street experiencing a heavy volume of high speed traffic had fewer friends than those who lived in the quieter residential area surveyed.[xxxvii] Results which are largely similar to previous studies on the subject, stretching back over the years.[xxxviii]

When traffic is slowed to 20mph in communities, research shows people are friendlier with their neighbours, feel safer in their area, and take part in more community activities.[xxxix] Research has also found 20mph limits boost the economic sustainability in the area, as safer areas for walking and cycling are seen as more desirable areas to live, boosting local businesses[xl] and increasing the value of homes in these areas.[xli]

Implementation

The default speed limit for roads in built up areas is 30mph in the UK, a limit set down in law by the Road Traffic Regulation Act (1984).[xlii] Therefore, 30mph is automatically in place on roads within communities, known as ‘restricted roads’, unless another speed limit is in force and signs clearly displayed.

Local speed limits can be set by local traffic authorities where ‘local needs and conditions suggest a speed limit which is different from the respective national speed limit’. Therefore, local councils have the authority to implement 20mph speed limits within communities where they believe it will make a difference to safety, the environment or other aspects of the community.[xliii]

The Department for Transport’s guidelines for Setting local speed limits (2013) clearly state that the implementation of a 20mph limit should be ‘evidence-led and self-explaining’, aimed at encouraging self-compliance and kept under constant assessment by the local authority. The guidelines recommend that before altering the default speed limit to, for example, 20mph, local authorities should carry out a study of types of crashes and their severity within the area selected for the change. This approach is aimed at ensuring that the speed limit assigned is appropriate for the area in which it is implemented. A speed limit is designed to reflect the environment that the road is located in, and any report produced should show clear benefits in implementing a change (to 20mph) before it is enacted by a local authority.[xliv]

When implementing 20mph in a region, local councils must decide between implementing a 20mph zone or a 20mph limit. The difference between the two is[xlv]:

  • A 20mph zone: An area of road with repeater signs and physical traffic calming measures, including speed humps and road narrowing. These are the more expensive out of the two options to implement and, where present, usually cover smaller areas.
  • A 20mph limit: An area marked by 20mph repeater signs, with no physical traffic calming measures in place. This option is seen as cheaper than 20mph zones, however, the cost of multiple repeater signs is not insignificant.

More information


End notes

[i] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, tables RAS30059 & RAS30062

[ii] Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of Britain’s road safety performance, TRL, 2016

[iii] Urban speed,Brake and Direct Line, 2016

[iv] National Travel Survey 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, tables NTS0301 & NTS0302 

[v] Ibid

[vi] British Social Attitudes survey 2016: Public attitudes to transport, Department for Transport, 2017

[vii] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[viii] Urban speed, Brake and Direct Line, 2016

[ix] Zero Road Deaths and Serious Injuries: leading a paradigm shift to a safe system, International Transport Forum, 2016

[x] Ibid

[xi] Urban speed, Brake and Direct Line, 2016

[xii] Zero Road Deaths and Serious Injuries: leading a paradigm shift to a safe system, International Transport Forum, 2016

[xiii] Update of the speed limit review, Transport Scotland, 2015

[xiv] Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, WHO, 2015

[xv] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, tables RAS30059 & RAS30062

[xvi]Traffic at 30mph is too fast for children’s visual capabilities, University of Royal Holloway London, 2010

[xvii] Inappropriate vehicle speed, RoSPA, 2016

[xviii] Effect of 20 mph traffic speed zones on road injuries in London 1986-2006, British Medical Journal, 2009

[xix] Mackie, A., Urban Speed Management Method, TRL, 1998

[xx] British Social Attitudes survey 2016: Public attitudes to transport, Department for Transport, 2017

[xxi]Every breathe we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, Royal College of Physicians, 2016

[xxii]Every breathe we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, Royal College of Physicians, 2016

[xxiii] Overview of UK Transport Greenhouse Gas Emissions 4, Department for Transport, 2012

[xxiv] Car pollution, Environment Protection UK, 2013

[xxv] Updated speed limit review, Transport Scotland, 2015

[xxvi]  British Social Attitudes survey 2016: Public attitudes to transport, Department for Transport, 2017

[xxvii] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[xxviii]  Lee I-M, et al (2012) Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. The Lancet 380: 219–29, quoted in Public Health England (2014) Everybody active, every day - an evidence-based approach to physical activity. London: PHE.

[xxix] Feel better outside, feel better inside, Mind, 2013

[xxx] Beep Beep! campaign urges drivers to slow down to save little lives, Brake and Curchill survey, 2015

[xxxi]National Travel Survey 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, tables NTS0301 & NTS0302 

[xxxii]National Travel Survey 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, tables NTS0301 & NTS0302 

[xxxiii]  British Social Attitudes survey 2016: Public attitudes to transport, Department for Transport, 2017

[xxxiv] 20mph speed limit pilot areas: monitoring report, Bristol City Council, 2012

[xxxv]Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[xxxvii] Hart, J & Parkhurst, G, Driven to excess: Impacts of motor vehicles on the quality of life of residents of three streets in Bristol UK, 2011, World Transport Policy & Practice

[xxxviii] Appleyard D, Liveable Streets, 1981

[xxxix] Working together to promote active travel: a briefing for local authorities, Public Health England, 2016

[xl]The pedestrian pound, Living Streets, 2014

Stay sharp - Octo Telematics

Driving is a complicated and sometimes dangerous task. It’s therefore crucial that you are in the best shape possible to do it. By driving with poor health, vision, or while stressed, fatigued or on medication you may be putting not only your life, but the lives of others at risk.

Monitoring eyesight is the first step. Over time, our eyes deteriorate and it’s actually possible for eyesight to degrade 40% before there’s a noticeable difference. Drivers should ensure that their eyes are in the best possible condition and, in fact, it’s recommended that they should have an eye test every two years – or immediately if they notice a problem.

But when we’re thinking about health, it isn’t just our eyes we need to worry about. A driver has a legal obligation to notify the DVLA of any injury or illness that may impact driving ability.  Failing to report this may result in a fine, ban, or even further legal consequences if the condition is directly to blame for a road crash. Even everyday medication can cause drowsiness so it’s important to check the label to see if there are any potential side effects that could affect driving.  

But even if we’re in the best of health we still may not be ‘sharp’. A common cause of crashes on British roads is tiredness. The Department for Transport has actually found that a quarter of all crashes on British are caused due to sleep deprivation. Losing concentration or even nodding off, just for a second, can result in severe crashes that have catastrophic consequences.  You are only ever fully alert when fully awake and rested so it is vital that you plan your journey ahead with regular breaks and get a good night’s sleep beforehand.

If you feel tired, you must react. Pull over somewhere safe as soon as possible to ensure that no crashes occur. Despite common perceptions, winding down the window or turning up your music does not help you fight off the fatigue. The only real cure is taking a break. Octo Telematics, the number one global provider of telematics for the auto insurance industry, supports Road Safety Week and the pledges Brake has proposed on sharp driving:

  • Drivers – I'll stay focused on safe driving. I'll take regular breaks and never drive if I'm tired, stressed or on medication that affects driving. I'll get my eyes tested every two years and wear glasses or lenses at the wheel if I need them.
  • Everyone – I'll look out for friends and loved ones by ensuring they only drive if they're fit for it, and rest if they're tired.

The safe systems approach to road safety

Introduction

What is safe systems?

Safe systems is an approach to road safety management, based on the principle that our life and health should not be compromised by our need to travel. No level of death or serious injury is acceptable in our road transport network.

Safe systems is designed with the human being at its centre, taking human fallibility and vulnerability into account, and accepting that even the most conscientious person will make a mistake at some point. The goal of safe systems is to ensure that these mistakes do not lead to a crash; or, if a crash does occur, it is sufficiently controlled to not cause a death or a life-changing injury.

Responsibility for the system is shared by everyone. Policy makers, planners, engineers, vehicle manufacturers, fleet managers, enforcement officers, road safety educators, health agencies and the media are accountable for the system’s safety; while every road user, whether they drive, cycle or walk, is responsible for complying with the system’s rules.

A safe systems approach also aligns road safety management with broader ethical, social, economic and environmental goals. By creating partnerships where government or transport agencies work closely with other groups, safe systems tackles other problems associated with road traffic, such as congestion, noise, air pollution and lack of physical exercise.

Safe systems is made up of four main components:

Who developed it?

The two earliest countries to adopt a safe systems approach to road safety were Sweden and the Netherlands: see Case studies below.

Sweden launched “Vision Zero” in 1994 [1], based on a strategy already in use in the air and rail transport industries, and summarised by the sentence “No loss of life is acceptable”. Vision Zero became law in 1997 as part of a Road Traffic Safety Bill, setting an ultimate target of no deaths or serious injuries on Sweden’s roads.

The Netherlands demo-ed its Sustainable Safety approach in 1995, followed by a full start-up programme in 1997 [2]. Sustainable Safety differs slightly from Sweden’s Vision Zero approach in that it does not assume that road users will obey the rules, and it considers public information and education to be a vital part of safe systems.

Is safe systems used in the UK?

Today, safe systems is considered to be international best practice in road safety by the World Health Organisation (WHO) [3] and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) [4]. Both organisations recommend that all countries, regardless of their level of road safety performance, follow a safe systems approach.

Safe systems has not been adopted by the UK government as a whole. However, Highways England, a government-appointed company set up to operate and improve the strategic road network (motorways and major A-roads) in England, has a safe systems approach at its heart, focusing its strategy on “safer vehicles, safer roads for safer people” [5].

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) published a guide in 2013, advising local authorities in England on how they might introduce safe systems [6]. Safe systems has since been adopted by several local administrations, including Bristol City Council (see Case studies below) and Brighton & Hove City Council. At the time of writing, Birmingham City Council was preparing a new road safety strategy based on a safe systems approach, which was expected to be approved by the end of 2015.

How is safe systems implemented?

A successful safe system approach is developed through:

  • taking an aspirational vision of road safety
  • altering people’s views about the inevitability of crashes, and overturning institutionalised attitudes towards road safety responsibility
  • commitment at the highest levels of government
  • carrying out data collection and analysis, so that crash risks and current road safety performance can be better understood
  • greater financial investment in road safety
  • sharing knowledge [7]

Safer roads

According to a safe systems approach, roads are designed to reduce the risk of crashes occurring, and the severity of injuries if a crash does occur. Safety features are incorporated into the road design from the outset, for example:

Segregating road users: One of the key dangers on our roads is that different types of road user share the same space. As far as possible, a safe systems approach seeks to segregate different road users, developing and enhancing safer routes for vulnerable users. For example, a local council or transport authority may focus on creating or expanding a cycle route network; construct and maintain footways; or work with schools to develop safer walking routes for children.

Segregating traffic: It is also desirable to segregate traffic that is moving in different directions or at different speeds – for example, by crash barriers separating opposite lanes of traffic. Crash barriers and other physical measures should be “soft” and give in the event of a crash, and verges made safer.

Speed: If segregation of people and traffic is not possible, then appropriate speed limits are put in place to protect the most vulnerable of road users. As part of their safe systems approach, for example, both Bristol and Brighton & Hove city councils have introduced a 20mph city-centre speed limit.

Self-explaining roads: Safe systems roads are “self-explaining”, i.e. they are designed so that the driver is aware of what is expected of them and behaves appropriately. Each class of road is immediately distinctive, with its own carriageway width, road markings, signing and use of street lighting that are consistent throughout the route. The simplicity and consistency of the road’s design reduces driver stress and driver error.

There is also an emphasis on a proactive approach to road safety, with improvements made to improve both the actual and perceived risks of road safety. Crash hot spots are identified, and targeted engineering measures taken to remedy them, e.g. by improving road surfaces, removing roadside obstacles to vision, or installing traffic lights.

Safer speeds

Speed limits in safe systems are based on aiding crash avoidance and a human body’s limit for physical trauma. An unprotected pedestrian hit at over 20mph has a significant risk of death or life-changing injury. A car in a side-on collision can protect its occupants up to around 30mph; a car in a head-on collision up to around 40mph [8].

Safe systems seeks to:

Establish appropriate speed limits: These are set according to road features and function and the known physical tolerances of road users, e.g. by rolling out a 20mph speed limit across a city centre or residential streets.

Enforce existing limits: Transport authorities work with the police to develop and evaluate speed enforcement. They may also work with community groups such as Community Speedwatch (CWS), a locally driven initiative where community members use speed detection devices to monitor vehicle speed, with the support of the police [9].

Educate road users: Authorities can mount speed enforcement and education campaigns. They might also ensure speed limit compliance by working directly with fleet drivers, licensed taxi companies or contractor vehicles.

Learn more:Read our fact pages and our advice for drivers on staying slow and safe.

Safer vehicles

Vehicles are designed, built and regulated to minimize the occurrence and consequences of crashes, with the emphasis on collision survivability. There are two main strands to safer vehicles – technology and road-worthiness:

Technology: ‘Active safety’ measures that help to prevent crashes include collision-avoidance systems, (semi-)autonomous vehicles, stability control, improved road-vehicle interaction, automatic braking systems, air cushion technology, alcolocks, and speed limiters on fleet vehicles. Vehicle components that protect occupants if a crash does occur (‘passive safety’) include three-point seat belts, padded dashboards and airbags.

Road worthiness: Consumers and businesses are encouraged to purchase safer vehicles. Vehicles are then maintained to the highest safety standards.

Learn more:Read our fact pages on choosing safer vehicles and vehicle maintenance, and our advice page on vehicle maintenance and breakdowns.

Safer road use

Everyone who uses roads is encouraged to use roads safely and comply with road rules. Emphasis is placed on a philosophy of shared and proportionate responsibility. Safe systems encourages safer road use in various ways, including:

Traffic reduction: Authorities work to reduce the volume of motor vehicle traffic, for example, by encouraging greater use of safer modes of travel such as public transport.

Education: Safe systems creates risk-aware drivers through education and publicity; for example, making new drivers aware of the risks they face, and encouraging all road users to travel unimpaired, alert, at safe speeds and without distraction, complying with road rules at all times. In-vehicle technologies may be used to give safety feedback and reduce risky behaviours by monitoring how a vehicle is driven, and feeding back information on speed, seatbelt use, hard acceleration and braking. Drivers who do not follow rules are required to undertake further education, for example, through the UK’s National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) course.

Use of streets for other purposes: By encouraging streets to be used for a range of community purposes, everyone is encouraged to have a stake in their streets. This may be small-scale, street-wide activities such as street parties and playing-out activities, or larger-scale municipal closures like “Paris Respire", where roads along the Seine are closed to traffic on Sundays.

Examine new ways of measuring safety: Traditionally, casualty statistics have been the primary method of measuring road safety. Safe systems looks to additional ways of measuring safety, e.g. the public’s perception of road danger.

Integrated school travel planning initiatives: Children are encouraged to use roads more safely. Transport authorities might work closely with schools to create safe walking routes for children, or expand the number of School Crossing Patrols in the area.

Learn more:Read our Campaigns pages for more on Brake’s campaigning work
Learn more:See Brake’s Kids Walk and Beep Beep! Day pages for children’s road safety events

Case studies

Sweden – Vision Zero 

Sweden launched its “Vision Zero” strategy in 1994 [10], based on a philosophy already in use in the air and rail transport industries. This maintains that life and health can never be exchanged for other benefits within society: they always take priority over the road traffic system.

At its core, Vision Zero states that humans are fallible, so our road systems cannot be. Safety must become the principle feature, with human error compensated for at all points. It seeks to promote long-term road safety developments across all of society’s institutions, including more involvement from the private sector.

Vision Zero became law in 1997 as part of a Road Traffic Safety Bill, setting an ultimate target of no deaths or serious injuries on Sweden’s roads.

The scheme is considered a success. Sweden has one of the world’s lowest traffic-related fatality rates. Road deaths have continued to decrease despite a steady rise in traffic.

Netherlands – Sustainable Safety

From the mid-1990s, the Netherlands developed Sustainable Safety [11], the goal of which was to prevent crashes from occurring, or if that could not be done, to prevent serious injury or death.

Sustainable Safety relied on wide-scale infrastructure changes to achieve its results, for example, from the start of the initiative up to 2003, the number of roads covered by a 30km/h limit was increased by approximately 30,000 km.

Between 1998 and 2007, the number of road deaths in the Netherlands decreased by an estimated 30%, compared to a scenario-based forecast made using previous road safety policy [12].

Bristol City Council

In March 2015, Bristol unveiled a 10-year plan for a safe systems approach to road safety. The plan was formed to make Bristol’s roads safer, encourage people to make sustainable travel choices, improve the quality of life of Bristol’s residents, and reduce the economic impact of road crashes, which cost the city over £40m in 2013 [13].

The plan is based on six action points: reduce the cost of public transport and improve its reliability; improve the city’s cycle network; reduce emissions; tackle commuter congestion; promote walking and cycling as alternatives to car use; and improve road layout to make safe, people-friendly streets.

Bristol City Council has used its previous road safety successes – e.g. 20mph limits in residential streets, the “Wheels, Skills and Thrills” project designed to improve young driver behaviour – to set the standard for its 10-year plan [14].

To achieve a safe systems approach, the council works closely and collaboratively with many groups: transport and engineering services; health and emergency services; advanced driving groups (IAM/RoSPA); driving schools and instructors; fleet services including taxi drivers and bus operators; schools and universities (UWE); campaigning groups (Sustrans, Living Streets); and neighbourhood partnerships and local residents.

References

[1]^ Vision Zero

[2]^ SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

[3]^ Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, WHO

[4]^ Towards Zero: Ambitious road safety targets and the safe system approach, OECD 2008

[5]^ Strategic Business Plan 2015-2020, Highways England 2014

[6]^ Road Safety: A guide for local councillors in England, RoSPA 2013

[7]^ Towards Zero: Ambitious road safety targets and the safe system approach, OECD 2008

[8]^ Speeding - Did you know? Factsheet, Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales 2011

[9]^ Community Speedwatch (CWS)

[10]^ Sweden – Vision Zero Initiative

[11]^ Sustainable Safety in the Netherlands: the vision, the implementation and the safety effects, SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research, 2005

[12]^ http://www.swov.nl/rapport/Factsheets/UK/FS_Sustainable_Safety_principles.pdf

[13]^ A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol: A 10-year Plan, March 2015

[14]^ A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol: A 10-year Plan, Appendix 2,

March 2015


Page created September 2015

To bike or not to bike?

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

cycle4life_3You have to make your own mind up whether to get on your bike or not. This section gives you information about the safety risks and the health and environmental benefits of cycling in the UK. If you decide, after reading Cycle4Life and considering the behaviour of drivers and level of cycling facilities in your community, that it is too dangerous for you or loved ones to cycle in certain places where you feel it should be safe to cycle, then use the campaign sections of Cycle4Life to help you fight for safer cycling facilities so you can get on your bike!

Cycle crashes: the statistics
Personal tragedies: case studies of cyclist deaths
Cycling for health
Cycling for the environment
Engineering for cyclists


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