Articles Tagged ‘rural - Brake the road safety charity’

Brake welcomes government THINK! campaign highlighting dangers of country roads

Thursday 9 October 2014

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

Brake, the road safety charity, is backing the Department for Transport's latest multimedia campaign launched today (9 October), which shows how country roads are deadlier than many of us think.

The campaign reveals that three in five fatalities (60%) occur on country roads, yet many drivers remain oblivious to the risks. In a survey for THINK!, the government's road safety campaigns unit, a worrying quarter of drivers (25%) admit to having had a near miss on a country road.

Brake, has been campaigning on road safety issues and supporting bereaved and injured crash victims for nearly 20 years. Brake's own survey, published this summer, revealed one in three drivers (33%) admit driving too fast for safety on country roads, by speeding, taking bends fast or overtaking. See more stats from the survey, and read Brake's.

In 2013, 895 people were killed on non-built up roads, up 1% on 2012, and 6,554 seriously injured [1].

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:"We welcome the focus the Department for Transport is giving to this vital issue. Both our campaigns highlight that too many drivers are not treating our country roads - and the people that use them and live near them - with respect. The so-called ‘open road' is a dangerous road, often full of unexpected hazards.We are urging drivers to slow down on country roads, staying well within limits and slowing right down for villages, bends, brows and bad weather. It's about being prepared for the unexpected, looking out for people on foot and bike, and respecting the countryside and other people's right to enjoy it."

Brake campaigns for slower speeds on country roads through its rural roads not racetracks campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #RuralRoadsnotRacetracks.

Notes for editors:

Brake

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

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

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

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties Great Britain: main results 2013, Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324580/rrcgb-main-results-2013.pdf . Non-built up roads refers to those with speed limits over 40mph.

Drivers urged: don't treat country roads like racetracks this summer, as one in three admit driving too fast

Thursday 24 July 2014

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

Drivers are being urged to slow down on country roads this summer to enable families, walkers, cyclists and horse riders to enjoy great British countryside, as a survey reveals that a huge proportion treat them like racetracks. Results out today from road safety charity Brake and Digby Brown solicitors reveal one in three drivers (33%) admit driving too fast for safety on country roads, by speeding, taking bends fast or overtaking. Four in 10 (37%) have had a near-miss on country roads, while driving, walking or cycling.

Since there is less traffic on country roads, some drivers feel a false sense of security [1] and are prone to take risks like speeding, overtaking, and not slowing down for brows and bends. In fact, per mile travelled, country roads are the most dangerous for all types of road user, with car occupants almost twice as likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road, motorcyclists more than twice as likely, and cyclists more than three times as likely [2]. In 2013, 895 people were killed on non-built up roads, up 1% on 2012, and 6,554 seriously injured [3].

Brake and Digby Brown's survey of 1,000 UK drivers also found:

  • One in five (19%) admit breaking speed limits on country roads in the past year
  • Three in 20 (15%) admit taking corners or brows too fast
  • One in 20 (5%) admit overtaking when it isn't safe
  • Three in 10 (28%) have been a passenger with a driver who broke the limit, one in five (19%) with a driver who took corners or brows too fast, and one in 12 (8%) with a driver who overtook when it wasn't safe.
  • Four in five (80%) think traffic is too fast for safety on some or most rural roads. Full results below.

Fast traffic on country roads not only puts lives at risk, it can also harm people's quality of life by preventing them from enjoying the countryside on foot or bike for fear of being hurt. Three quarters of those surveyed (76%) think country roads need to be safer for cyclists, walkers and horse-riders, and two in five say they would start cycling or cycle more (37%), or start walking or walk more (43%), if these roads were safer [4].

To cut crashes and empower people to enjoy the countryside, Brake is calling on government to lower limits on rural roads to a maximum of 50mph, and require authorities to implement lower limits where there are particular risks. The survey found widespread support for lower limits, with seven in 10 (72%) in favour of more 50, 40 and 30mph limits on country roads, and two thirds (65%) in favour of a 40mph default in national parks.

Brake is urging all drivers to stay well under current limits - bearing in mind 60mph is generally far too fast for safety on these roads - and slow right down for villages, bends, brows and bad weather, and avoid overtaking. Drivers should always assume that someone, or something, could be around any corner.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "We hear constantly from people in rural areas whose communities are blighted by fast traffic. It's a big issue over the summer when many people want to enjoy our beautiful countryside on foot, bike or horseback, and shouldn't have to contend with drivers treating the roads as their personal racetrack. Driving in this way is incredibly selfish and means people feel less able to get out and enjoy the countryside. People in rural communities and families visiting these areas this summer have a right to enjoy their surroundings without fearing for their safety. Country roads are not empty thoroughfares for traffic; they are living environments, full of unpredictable hazards around every twist and turn. We are urging drivers to slow right down on country roads this summer, especially for villages, bends, brows and bad weather, to respect the countryside and other people's right to enjoy it."

Milly Wastie, former chair of the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs, is backing Brake's Rural roads not racetracks campaign. Milly lost a friend to a crash on a country road when she was 17 and has campaigned and educated on road safety in rural areas ever since, including founding the NFYFC's Drive it Home campaign. She said:

"Country roads present many risks and hazards and you never know what might be around the corner, whether it be a cyclist, livestock, or slow moving farm machinery. By sticking well within the limit and reducing your speed as appropriate to the road conditions, you can ensure you are as prepared as possible to handle whatever situation is presented to you. I spend my life driving regularly along country lanes, and having lost a friend in a crash on such a road I want to encourage other road users to take their time, avoid needless risk-taking, and enjoy the countryside - please don't risk harming others."

Fraser Simpson, Digby Brown partner and Brake spokesperson in Scotland, commented: "Careless and reckless driving wrecks lives. At Digby Brown we work with families affected by road traffic crashes and see first-hand their devastating human consequences. Driving on rural roads or in countryside areas has its own challenges and all of us should bear that in mind when we get behind the wheel. We can all do our bit to stop the carnage we see far too often on our roads. Whether it is checking and obeying the speed limit on an unfamiliar road, taking a bit more time to get round a corner or thinking twice about overtaking, care and attention saves lives. This is a really important message and Digby Brown are fully supportive of Brake's campaign and work in this area."

Read about Brake's Rural roads not racetracks campaign. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, hashtag #RuralRoadsnotRacetracks. For interviews with Brake or Milly Wastie, contact Ed Morrow on 01484 550 063 or news@brake.org.uk.

Facts
Per mile travelled, country roads are the most dangerous for all types of road user, with car occupants almost twice as likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road, motorcyclists more than twice as likely, and cyclists more than three times as likely [5]. Country roads are also the most dangerous type of road in relation to traffic volume [6], accounting for 60% of all road deaths: in 2013, 895 people were killed on non-built up roads, compared with 718 on built-up roads and 100 on motorways [7].

Excessive speed and risky overtaking are major factors [8], combined with a false sense of security [9]. A study of rural single-carriageway roads estimated that a 10% increase in mean average speed results in a 30% increase in fatal and serious crashes [10].

By and large, 60mph is too fast for safety on country roads - at this speed, your stopping distance is 73 metres, or three tennis courts, meaning you won't be able to stop in time for an unexpected person or hazard appearing within this distance. If you are overtaking, this will leave you on the wrong side of the road with the gap between you and any oncoming traffic travelling at the same speed closing at 120mph, or 60 metres per second.

Brake's advice
While country roads sometimes appear empty, they are full of unexpected hazards. Even if you know the road well, you never know what's round the corner. That's why slowing down is vital: it enables you to react to the unexpected, such as a cyclist or walker, an animal running out, or debris in the road.

Country roads are shared spaces used by pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, farm vehicles and animals. Most are narrow with blind corners and bends, and have no pavements or cycle paths. As such, drivers should drive as though someone or something could be round any corner, staying well under limits, acknowledging that 60mph is too fast for safety, and slowing right down for bends, brows and other hazards, whenever visibility or conditions are poor, and slowing to 20mph in villages and around homes and schools. Drivers should also avoid overtaking, unless absolutely essential and 100% safe: unless you need to pass a very slow moving vehicle, and are certain you can get past safely, it's not worth the risk.

Calls for government action
Brake is calling for the government to lower the default speed limit on our rural network from 60 to 50mph, and require local authorities to implement lower limits of 40, 30 and 20mph where there are particular risks, including 20mph in villages.

This must be coupled with wider traffic enforcement, including more speed cameras, especially average cameras, and investment in roads policing, as well as education warning of the dangers of speed and overtaking on rural roads to encourage compliance with lower limits.

Brake also calls for investment in far more traffic-free cycle and walking paths connecting rural communities, as well as frequent, cheap and well-marketed rural bus and train services, to discourage reliance on cars and encourage use of active travel and public transport.

Case study
Dana Trigger, 22, from Aberdeen, was driving from her parents' house to visit her boyfriend, along a narrow country road, in July of 2008. A deer jumped in front of her car, causing her to swerve to avoid it, across an uneven part of the road surface and into a tree. She was killed instantly. Her father, David Trigger, a driving instructor, now has his students perform emergency stops in the same area to help them deal with such a situation.

David says: ''Losing a child is a parent's worst nightmare. It is completely earth-shattering, something you never get over. I have to live with the fact I won't see my daughter Dana again, and the haunting memories of having to identify her body, rather than of the bubbly, smiling girl I knew. Dana's crash is an example of how you never know what to expect next, what's around the corner, on country roads. I urge all drivers to be prepared for any eventuality, and be cautious with their speed, to avoid more tragedies like that which killed my daughter. As I always say to my pupils, you don't have to be going fast to be going too fast."

 

About the survey
The results, released today, come from a survey of 1,000 drivers and riders conducted by Surveygoo in February 2014.

Full results
Q1. Do you think country roads in your area/region should be made safer for cyclists, walkers and horse-riders? (tick one)

  • 76% said yes
  • 24% said no

Q2. Do you think traffic on country roads in your area/region is too fast for safety? (tick one)

  • 29% said yes, on most country roads
  • 51% said yes, on some country roads
  • 20% said no

Q3. Would you feel more able to enjoy the countryside if country roads were made safer? (tick as many as apply)

  • 23% said yes, I would cycle more
  • 37% said yes, I would walk more
  • 14% said yes, I would start cycling
  • 6% said yes, I would start walking
  • 9% said yes, in other ways
  • 23% said no, I already enjoy the countryside as much as I want to
  • 24% said no, it wouldn't make any difference to me

Q4. In the past year, do you think you have driven faster than was safe on a country road? (tick at least one, and as many as apply)

  • 19% said yes, I've broken speed limits on country roads
  • 11% said yes, I've driven a bit too fast in bad weather/visibility
  • 15% said yes, I've taken corners/brows a bit too fast
  • 5% said yes, I've overtaken when it wasn't totally safe
  • 58% said no, I've always driven within speed limits and slowly enough to be safe on country roads
  • 9% said I've not driven on country roads

Q5. In the past year, have you been a passenger with a driver who has driven too fast on a country road? (tick at least one, and as many as apply)

  • 28% said yes, I've been a passenger with someone who broke speed limits on country roads
  • 17% said yes, I've been a passenger with someone who drove too fast in bad weather/visibility
  • 19% said yes, I've been a passenger with someone who took corners/brows too fast
  • 8% said yes, I've been a passenger with someone who overtook when it wasn't totally safe
  • 37% said no, I've only been a passenger with drivers who drive slowly enough on country roads
  • 22% said I've not been a passenger with anyone on country roads

Q6. Have you ever had a near-miss on a country road while driving, or walking or cycling? (tick any that apply)

  • 23% said yes, with another vehicle while I was driving
  • 6% said yes, with a cyclist, pedestrian or horse rider while I was driving
  • 3% said yes, with no one else involved while I was driving
  • 8% said yes, I was nearly hit while on foot
  • 6% said yes, I was nearly hit while I was cycling
  • 2% said yes, I was nearly hit while riding a horse
  • 63% said none of the above

Q7. Would you support 40mph limits across all country roads in national parks (excepting motorways and major trunk roads) to make it safer for people to walk, cycle ride horses on rural roads? (tick one)

  • 65% said yes
  • 35% said no

Q8. Do you think there should be more lower speed limits (of 50, 40 and 30mph) on country roads to help reduce crashes and make them safer for people to walk and cycle? (tick one)

  • 72% said yes
  • 28% said no

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

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

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

Digby Brown Solicitors
Digby Brown Solicitors are Scotland's largest personal injury practices with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkcaldy and Aberdeen. The firm won the Community Contribution Award at the 2014 Scottish Legal Awards in recognition of its work with Brake among other organisations and were the only law firm shortlisted in the Customer Focus Category of the 2013 Scottish Business Awards.

End notes
[1] Direct Line report on safe driving 2009-2011, part 3 - speed, Brake and Direct Line, 2010
[2] Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2012, Department for Transport, 2013 - table RAS20005, p94 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269601/rrcgb-2012-complete.pdf 
[3] Reported road casualties Great Britain: main results 2013, Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324580/rrcgb-main-results-2013.pdf. Non-built up roads refers to those with speed limits over 40mph.
[4] Survey of 1,000 drivers and riders conducted for Brake and Digby Brown by Surveygoo, released 24 July 2014
[5] Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2012, Department for Transport, 2013 - table RAS20005, p94 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269601/rrcgb-2012-complete.pdf 
[6] Reported road casualties Great Britain: 2012, Department for Transport, 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269601/rrcgb-2012-complete.pdf. In 2012, rural roads accounted for almost 60% of road deaths, in spite of carrying only 42% of traffic.
[7] Reported road casualties Great Britain: main results 2013, Department for Transport, 2014 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/324580/rrcgb-main-results-2013.pdf
[8] Rural roads, Road Safety Observatory, 2014, http://www.roadsafetyobservatory.com/Review/10039 
[9] Direct Line report on safe driving 2009-2011, part 3 - speed, Brake and Direct Line, 2010
[10] The relationship between speed and accidents on rural single-carriageway roads, TRL511, Transport Research Laboratory, 2002

Engineering for cyclists

cycle4life_4Cyclists benefit from cycle paths away from traffic; slow traffic and more space for cyclists on roads if off-road cycle paths are not possible; cyclist-friendly junctions; safe crossings; lighting and signing; and cycle parking. Visit the Cycling England Gallery to see examples of best practice. Yet sadly many parts of the UK don’t have these facilities. Cyclists share bendy rural roads, fast A roads and busy town roads with every other form of transport. If you think your community needs more facilities for cyclists, visit our campaign pages for help on getting what you need.

The good news is that in some areas of the UK Government and Lottery funding is resulting in new facilities for cyclists:

Case study: Aylesbury becomes a Cycle Town

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire is a Government Cycling Demonstration Town. Since the project began in 2005, cycling has tripled. More than one in 10 Aylesbury residents now use bikes as their main mode of transport. With government funding, seven safe cycle routes run into town and there is a cycle loan scheme which reduces the cost of buying a bike by half. Visit Cycle Aylesbury for more information.

Sustrans wins Lottery Funding for cycling routes

Sustrans, the UK sustainable transport charity, campaigns for and builds cycle routes. In December 2007 they were awarded £50m from The People’s Lottery Fund to create 79 key bridges, crossings and routes to link communities with each other and with open spaces, work places, local amenities and schools.

Useful links:
Cycling England for information on other cycle towns and cities.
Sustrans for more information on their cycle route building programme.


<< Cycling for the environment

<< To bike or not to bike? home page

<< Cycle4life home page

 

Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, August/September 2007

aug-sept07Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland

During Parliament’s summer recess, Helen Goodman MP has been working with local parents to campaign for road safety measures to protect children in a local village in her constituency. She has also joined parents, pupils and teachers to campaign against cuts to Durham County Council’s budget for post-16 school transport, which could encourage more young drivers to take to the road.

Helen has been campaigning with her constituents in Evenwood Gate, Bishop Auckland, who are calling for a 40mph speed limit throughout the village. The current speed limit is 60mph on some roads through the village, which Helen and the village residents consider far too fast. Helen has written to Durham County Council and local police to make them aware of the problem and has urged the council to reduce the limit in order to protect children within the village and prevent crashes.

Helen has also written to the local authority and police to voice her constituents’ concerns about the road outside Cockfield Primary School in Evenwood Gate. After visiting the village to see the road for herself, Helen is throwing her support behind local parents’ demands for a pedestrian crossing outside the school.

Helen is making sure that local media, including the Teesdale Mercury, is following the campaign to improve road safety in Evenwood Gate, of her campaign, and raising awareness about road safety issues. More information on Helen’s campaign to improve safety in Evenwood gate is available on her website.

Helen has also joined parents, pupils and teachers in condemning Durham County Council’s proposed cuts of £300,000 to the local post-16 school transport budget, which could force families to pay up to £100 per pupil per term for local transport.

Helen is concerned that these cuts could encourage greater numbers of young people to learn to drive as soon as they turn 17, putting more of them behind the wheel at the age when they are most likely to crash. She has written a strongly worded letter to the council in opposition of the cuts.

RSWorange_07_logo

Road Safety Week 2007 will focus on the safety of children on foot and bicycles. To find our more about the Week, go to www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk. Any Parliamentarians wanting to get involved in Road Safety Week should call Rachel Burr on 01484 559909 or email rburr@brake.org.uk.

Zak_Hotline

Brake’s Zak the Zebra hotline collects information about dangerous roads across the UK, like the roads in Evenwood Gate. Brake uses this information to lobby for safer roads - in particular, roads around schools and in residential areas where children are likely to be out and about. Anyone can report a dangerous road and it may be possible for Zak to visit your community to help with a road safety campaign.

Lewes MP wins national road safety award

News from Brake
Thursday, 26 April 2018
 
Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes, has today been honoured with a parliamentarian road safety award by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line Group.
 
The award recognises Maria’s efforts to improve road safety on country lanes for all road users. Maria has been campaigning on this issue following a serious collision in her constituency in which Beverley Berrill was knocked off her horse by a speeding driver. The crash resulted in Ms Berrill being hospitalised for ten days and her horse being put down.
 
As part of the campaign, Maria presented a petition in Parliament, signed by over 1,500 local residents, calling on country lanes in Ditchling, Streat and Westmeston to be designated quiet lanes [1] to improve safety for all road users.
 
Brake has long called for safer speed limits through its Pace for People campaign [2]. Whilst some progress has been made on urban speed, with increasing numbers of 20mph zones across the UK, country roads remain a high-risk environment. Most country roads [3] in the UK have a 60mph limit, the national default for single carriageway roads, however, such roads are often unsuitable for high speeds as they are narrow, with blind bends, and no pavements or cycle paths. Local councils are permitted to set lower limits in certain areas but any deviation from the default speed can be costly to implement. Brake is seeking a reduction in the national default limit to deliver slower, safer roads.
 
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
“Maria’s efforts to improve road safety on country lanes should be applauded and Brake is delighted to recognise her important work with this award.”
 
“Shockingly, 40% of all road deaths in Britain happen on country roads [4], and the cause is often speed-related. The Government must act to put a halt to this carnage through a reduction of the national default 60mph limit on single carriageway roads to 50mph. Slower speeds save lives and help make our streets more liveable environments for all road users.”
 
Accepting her award, Maria Caulfield MP said:
“This is such an important issue for local residents in the rural parts of my constituency, as is shown by the high number of people who have signed my petition. I was pleased to be able to present this petition and show this strength of feeling in the House of Commons.”
 
“I’d like to pass on my thanks to the many residents who have signed the petition. I am grateful to Brake, the road safety charity, for picking up on this issue and helping to highlight the dangers that residents face on country lanes.”
 
 Gus Park, managing director of Motor Insurance at Direct Line Group, said:
 
We applaud Maria for her work campaigning for safer roads in and around Lewes. There are still too many accidents on rural roads. The government should look at default speed limits. But speed limits are only limits. Drivers should ensure that they are driving at a safe speed regardless of the speed limit - and in narrow, winding country lanes, that may be well below the legal speed limit.”
 
[ENDS]
 
For further information contact: news@brake.org.uk
Notes to Editors:
 
[1] Quiet lanes allow for easier and safer use of roads by multiple users, including vehicles, equestrians and cyclists. This typically includes a reduced speed limit and other signs which request drivers to be mindful of other road users.
[2] Brake’s Pace for People campaign - http://www.brake.org.uk/campaigns/flagship-campaigns/go-20
[3] Country roads are defined here as single carriageway roads with a speed limit of over 40mph.
[4] Taken from RAS40003 - Reported casualties by speed limit, road class and severity, Great Britain, 2016.
 
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Nigel Evans MP wins award for rural road safety efforts

News from Brake
Friday 31 August 2018
 
Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, has today been named as Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month for August 2018, by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line Group.
 
The award recognises Nigel’s efforts to improve road safety in his constituency, in particular work to improve rural road safety - a priority issue for Brake as the majority of road deaths occur on these roads. Nigel has been leading the charge for road safety in recent months by tackling dangerous speeding on Pendleton Road, successfully lobbying for a roundabout to be installed at the dangerous Sabden Junction on the A59, and calling for extra money from Government to accelerate the repair of the many bad potholes in his constituency.
 
Nigel’s most recent effort to improve road safety in his constituency has focussed on tackling speeding motorists on the rural roads in and around Pendleton. Nigel was motivated to tackle this issue after witnessing motorists speeding through the village of Pendleton and was concerned about the risk posed to children, who are some of our most vulnerable road users. Nigel has requested traffic calming measures be installed by Lancashire County Council and spoke with the Chief Constable of Lancashire Police calling for greater enforcement of the speed limits.
 
Brake has long recognised the dangers of speed on rural roads. Most rural roads in the UK have a 60mph limit, the national default for single carriageway roads, however, such roads are often unsuitable for high speeds as they are narrow, with blind bends, and no pavements or cycle paths. Brake wants to see constituency activity by parliamentarians on rural roads, supported by government action at a national level. Brake is calling for a reduction in the national default speed limit on rural roads to deliver slower, safer roads.
 
Brake will also be using Road Safety Week 2018 to get their message across about the dangers of rural roads. Rural roads pose a significant risk to vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists and cyclists – the focus of this year’s Road Safety Week theme ‘Bike Smart’. Brake will be reiterating its calls for a reduced national default limit to protect the safety of all road users and particularly the most vulnerable.
 
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
 
 
“Brake is delighted to recognise Nigel’s commitment to road safety in his constituency with this award – it is thoroughly deserved. His campaign to tackle speeding on rural roads should be especially highlighted; the majority of road deaths in Britain happen on rural roads, and the cause is often speed-related.
 
“Rural road safety is a key focus of the Government’s new two-year road safety action plan. The Government must grasp this opportunity to improve rural road safety and introduce a lower default speed limit.  Slower speeds save lives and help make our streets more liveable environments for all.”
 
 
Accepting his award, Nigel Evans MP said:
 
 
“I’m grateful for this recognition which raises the importance of this issue- as it is literally life and death, and life changing when people, Governments and local authorities get it wrong.
 
“I have just completed a tour of my constituency with 42 stops at villages throughout the Ribble Valley where I’ve dealt with concerns of my constituents. The number one top issue has been speeding traffic, dangerous driving and the state of the roads. I met one cyclist who had been thrown from her bicycle and suffered bruises because she hit a pothole.
 
“Since raising Pendleton’s woes many people contacted me about their own areas traffic issues with calls for average speed cameras in rural and residential areas. I hope that the concerns of genuinely worried residents will now be taken seriously and urgently before more deaths and injuries and misery occurs.”
 
Gus Park, Managing Director of Motor Insurance at Direct Line Group, said:
 
"We applaud Nigel's efforts as we see so many crashes at junctions, especially when drivers are turning right. We have also seen an increase in pothole related damage to vehicles and welcome all Nigel's campaigning to make these roads safer."
 
ENDS
 
For further information contact: news@brake.org.uk
 
Notes to Editors:
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
About Direct Line Insurance Group plc
 
Direct Line Group is headquartered in Bromley. Through its number of well known brands the Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. The Group also provides insurance services for third parties through its partnerships division, Direct Line Group Partnerships. In the commercial sector, the Group's NIG and Direct Line for Business operations offer insurance products for businesses distributed through brokers or direct, respectively.

Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, August/September 2009

aug09Norman Baker, MP for Lewes and Shadow Transport Secretary for the Liberal Democrats.

Norman Baker MP has been campaigning on a number of pedestrian safety issues in his constituency in Lewes, East Sussex. He is pressing his local council for the introduction of variable 20mph speed restrictions around schools in his area and calling for new regulations on sat navs to discourage large lorries driving through unsuitable roads in small village centres like those in his constituency.

Mr Baker has asked the Government to encourage local authorities to implement variable 20mph speed limits around schools by raising a question in parliament on 9 July this year.

Following this he called for East Sussex County Council to introduce 20mph speed limits around two particular schools in his constituency. Mr Baker recommended that the limits should be introduced around Hamsey and Annecy primary schools when children are most likely to be crossing roads on their way to and from school.

Norman Baker commented: “Research has shown that there is an enormous difference to pedestrians between a car travelling at 20 miles per hour compared with one moving at 30 mph. A child is far more likely to survive an impact with a car if it is travelling at 20 mph. If a car is travelling even slightly above a 30mph limit, the chances of survival for the average child become significantly worse.”

As a result of his campaign East Sussex County Council has decided that “the feasibility of introducing a part time limit should be investigated” in regard to Annecy School and that “if a part-time 20mph speed limit is ultimately introduced […] and proves successful, then it could pave the way for other part time speed limits to be introduced in the County”.

Speaking on the issue, Mr Baker said: “I am glad to see that East Sussex County Council is taking seriously the issue of speed limits outside schools”.

Mr Baker has also expressed concerns about the dangers posed by lorries being directed down unsuitable routes by sat navs, which also pose a danger to pedestrians and other road users in his constituency.

In Alfriston, a village in Mr Baker’s constituency, a local campaign group called ‘Save Alfriston for Everyone’ (SAFE) is taking forward the campaign to tackle this problem, which is affecting the village, its pedestrians and damaging property. They organised a village meeting to discuss the problems and rally support.

To help the villagers with their campaign, Mr Baker has called on the Government to immediately review regulations on sat navs to ensure the devices take account of the width and height of large vehicles before choosing a route. He also put pressure on the local council to come up with solutions to the residents’ concerns.

Brake congratulates Norman Baker MP for keeping up the pressure to make the streets of Lewes safer for pedestrians. If you would like information on talking to road safety experts and local officials about a particular road safety measure, for example a lower speed limit or crossing, please visit the Concerned Community pages of Brake’s website.

Richmond (Yorks) MP named Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month for June

News from Brake
Wednesday, 27 June 2018
 
Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond (Yorks), has today been named as Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month for June 2018, by Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line Group.
 
The award recognises Mr Sunak’s crucial efforts to improve road safety for his constituents by securing a lower speed limit on a dangerous stretch of the A66 in North Yorkshire. Mr Sunak has been campaigning on this issue following a number of recent serious and fatal crashes on the A66 at Ravensworth, with concerns over the safety of the road being expressed to him by local residents.
 
Joining forces with North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, Ravensworth Parish Council and the A66 Action Group, Mr Sunak wrote to Highways England, who are responsible for the road, detailing the group’s concerns. They demanded immediate safety improvements, including a reduced speed limit, to the two-mile stretch of single carriageway near Ravensworth.
 
In a victory for the group, Highways England has now agreed to reduce the speed limit from 60mph to 50 mph, confirming that a temporary 50mph limit would be imposed as soon as possible and then made permanent.
 
Brake has long called for safer speed limits through its Pace for People campaign [1]. Whilst some progress has been made on urban speed, with increasing numbers of 20mph zones across the UK, country roads remain a significantly high risk.
 
Most country roads [2] in the UK have a 60mph limit, the national default for single carriageway roads, however, such roads are often unsuitable for high speeds as they are narrow, with blind bends, and no pavements or cycle paths. Local councils are permitted to set lower limits in certain areas but any deviation from the default speed can be costly to implement. Brake is seeking a reduction in the national default limit to deliver slower, safer roads.
 
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:
 
 
“Mr Sunak’s role in securing a slower, safer speed limit on this dangerous stretch of road in his constituency such be applauded, and Brake is delighted to recognise his important efforts on improving road safety with this award.
 
“Shockingly, 40% of all road deaths in Britain happen on country roads [3], and the cause is often speed-related. Brake is calling for a reduction of the national default 60mph limit on single carriageway roads to 50mph. Slower speeds save lives and help make our streets more liveable environments”
 
Commenting, Rishi Sunak MP said:
 
 
“I am very grateful that Brake are helping to highlight the crucial issue of safety on rural roads, following the successful campaign for a lower speed limit on a stretch of the A66 near Ravensworth. I’d like to thank Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan for working with me to press Highways England to implement a 50mph speed limit. The A66 Action Group and Ravensworth parish council carried out a tremendous amount of work producing the necessary evidence to justify the new lower speed limit and should also be commended for their considerable efforts.”
 
Gus Park, Managing Director of Motor Insurance at Direct Line Group, said:
 
“Our research shows that in a 60mph zone, drivers find it acceptable to travel 12 per cent over the speed limit (67.4mph). A reduction in the speed limit on this dangerous road will save lives. Thanks to Rishi Sunak for improving road safety for his constituents.”
 
[ENDS]
 
For further information contact: news@brake.org.uk
 
Notes to Editors:
 
[1] Brake’s Pace for People campaign - http://www.brake.org.uk/campaigns/flagship-campaigns/go-20
[2] Country roads are defined as single carriageway roads with a speed limit of over 40mph.
 
About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
 
About Direct Line Insurance Group plc
 
Direct Line Group is headquartered in Bromley. Through its number of well known brands the Group offers a wide range of general insurance products to consumers. These brands include Direct Line, Churchill and Privilege. The Group also provides insurance services for third parties through its partnerships division, Direct Line Group Partnerships. In the commercial sector, the Group's NIG and Direct Line for Business operations offer insurance products for businesses distributed through brokers or direct, respectively.

Rural road speed limits are not safe, say drivers

News from Brake
Wednesday 15 May 2019
 
Road safety campaigners are calling for a review of speed limits on rural single-carriageway roads as a report is released revealing that drivers don’t feel safe travelling at the default 60mph speed limit.
 
The report, by Brake, the road safety charity and Direct Line and based on a survey of more than 1,000 drivers [1], found 6 in 10 would feel unsafe travelling at the default 60mph limit on rural single-carriageway roads compared with 9 in 10 saying they generally aim to drive at around the limit on roads of any kind. Fewer than a quarter (23%) stated that 60mph is a safe speed for a vehicle on a road where there may be people on foot, bicycles and horses.  
 
Safety on rural roads is incredibly important. Nearly half (4 in 10) of all deaths on Britain’s roads occur on rural single-carriageway roads. On average, 17 people are killed or seriously injured on these roads every day [2].
 
Most rural roads in the UK have a 60mph speed limit, which is the national default for single carriageway roads [3]. However, these roads are unsuited to high speeds. They are often narrow with blind bends, brows and no pavements or cycle paths, with a lack of alternate direct and segregated routes for people on foot, bicycles or horses. These roads also have other hazards like the presence of animals or items in the road such as a tree branch. Overgrowing hedges and trees can obstruct visibility of the road and signs and can also present an additional danger in the event of a crash.
 
Even in dry weather, the stopping distance at the default 60mph limit is 73m, which is more than six double-decker bus lengths. This means that a driver travelling at the limit would almost certainly not be able to stop in time, if a cyclist on the road in front was hidden by a blind bend.
 
The report found that drivers either wanted, or were ambivalent, about a reduction to the default 60mph limit on rural roads, with less than one in five (19%) objecting to a reduction.
 
Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
“Drivers have made their views clear – travelling at 60mph on rural roads doesn’t feel safe to them, and the majority would support or not object to the limit being reduced. The current default limit gives a false impression that 60mph is a safe speed and this is putting everyone who uses our rural roads at risk. With 17 people killed or seriously injured on these roads every day, the Government must review the default speed limit with a view to its reduction.
 
“Looking ahead to the publication of the Government’s new road safety action plan, we urge a focus on speed reduction, both in our towns and cities but also on the country’s many winding and narrow single-carriageway rural roads that are often overlooked but where so many of our road deaths and serious injuries occur. Simply put, slowing down vehicles save lives.”
 
Steve Barrett head of Direct Line Car Insurance, said:
 “Speed and rural roads can be a deadly combination. However, a speed limit is not a target that must be attained and people should drive to the conditions of the road. Rural roads have many challenges for all those that use them and speed can exacerbate this, in both stopping distances and reaction times.”
 
Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans, walking and cycling charity, has also welcomed the report:
 “This report highlights that we need to continue to make everyone feel and be safe on our roads. Evidence shows lower speed limits save lives and prevent injuries, as well as making our roads more inclusive and pleasant for all, in particular for vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, those who cycle, disabled people, horse riders and children. 
 
“Our review of the National Cycle Network highlights that reducing speed limits in both rural and built-up areas can play a huge role in making walking and cycling more welcoming.”
 
Commenting, Alan Tapp, Professor of Social Marketing at UWE, said:
“The findings that drivers tend to drive around the speed limit but few feel safe travelling at 60mph on single carriageway rural roads, is significant. Of course, drivers are not obliged to drive at speed limits, and we should encourage policies promoting more rigorous driver training and more rigorous testing. But there is also a case to review the widespread use of default national speed limits on single carriageway rural roads, particularly country lanes.”
 
Case study
 
One tragic story of the dangers of rural roads is that of Jason Eaton. He was just 17 when he died in a car crash on a rural road in October 2010. Jason was a front seat passenger in his friend’s car travelling on the B4036, a single-carriageway 60mph rural road, near West Haddon in Northamptonshire. The driver failed to slow down when approaching a bend, lost control and careered off the road. Jason was trapped in the car for more than an hour before being freed and rushed to hospital, but tragically died of his injuries. The crash investigator concluded the cause was driving too fast for the bend and the inexperience of the driver.
 
Commenting, Jason’s mother Marina said:
“Eight years have passed since Jason lost his life, yet it still feels like it happened yesterday. Jason was a wonderful young man, loved by all his family and friends, and was taken from us far too soon. Speeding on rural roads is so dangerous – we all just need to slow down. I do not want any other family to suffer the life-changing effect Jason’s death has on all of our family every day.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to Editors:
 
[1] The survey of 1,107 drivers was carried out online by external research agency Surveygoo in 2018, on behalf of Brake and Direct Line.
[3] National speed limits – gov.uk
 
 
About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.        
 
About Direct Line
 
Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or online.
 
Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com
                                                                                                               

Speed on country roads

More than half (51%) of fatal crashes in Britain occur on country roads [1]. Per mile travelled, country roads are the most dangerous roads for all kinds of road user [2]:

  • Car occupants are twice as likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road.
  • Motorcyclists are more than twice as likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road.
  • Cyclists are almost three times more likely to be killed on a country road than an urban road.

Rural roads

Speed is a major factor in country road crashes [3]. A study of country single-carriageway roads estimated that a 10% increase in average speed results in a 30% increase in fatal and serious crashes [4]. The most common crash types on country roads are collisions at intersections, head-on collisions and running off the road [5] – these are all related to excessive speed.

While country roads can initially appear empty, they are shared spaces used by vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders, as well as slow moving farm vehicles, livestock, wild animals, and large vehicles such as buses and quarry vehicles.

Take action: Support Brake’s Pace for people campaign for slower speeds on country roads, and better walking and cycling routes in rural areas.

Speed limits on country roads

Most country roads in the UK have a 60mph (97km/h) limit. However, due to their use by vulnerable road users and the design and condition of many country roads, 60mph (or anywhere near it) is rarely a safe speed to travel.

Many country roads are narrow, with blind bends, and no pavements or cycle paths. They frequently have pot holes and debris such as fallen branches, and suffer from wet and icy conditions, meaning it takes far longer to stop. These factors mean that if a driver is going too fast they won't be able to react in time to people or hazards to prevent a crash. They also mean that if a driver is going too fast they may lose control and end up in the path of an oncoming vehicle or running off the road.

At 60mph, a driver's stopping distance is 73 metres, or about three tennis courts. This means if a hazard suddenly appears within this distance, as is common on country roads, the driver would have no chance of stopping in time. Speeds under 40mph are far more appropriate for these roads.

Worryingly, a Brake and Digby Brown survey found that one in three drivers (33%) admit driving too fast for safety on country roads, and one in five (19%) admit breaking speed limits on country roads within the past year. Four in 10 (37%) have had a near-miss on country roads, while driving, walking or cycling. However, four in five (80%) think traffic is too fast for safety on some or most country roads, and seven in 10 (72%) support slower speed limits (50, 40 or 30mph) on country roads [6].

Learn more: Read our fact page on speed and stopping distances.

Overtaking

Overtaking on single carriageway roads is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres drivers can perform – and is usually unnecessary. Overtaking is dangerous because is impossible to accurately judge the speed and distance of approaching traffic. This lack of judgement can easily be fatal when travelling at speed on the wrong side of the road. If two vehicles headed towards each other are both travelling at 60mph the gap between decreases by about 60 metres every second.

It is therefore incredibly dangerous to overtake on country roads, where there will rarely be enough straight, visible road ahead to be certain that nothing is coming in the opposite direction. It is also pointless: if you are travelling at 55mph, and you overtake someone doing 50mph, and you have ten miles left of your journey, you’ll only arrive one minute faster than if you’d stayed behind the slower vehicle. However, in reality you wouldn’t even save this much time, as you would still need to slow down for bends, junctions, other traffic, and if entering lower speed limits. Brake advises overtaking should be avoided at all costs.

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

More information 


[1] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, table RAS30006

[2] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2016, Department for Transport, 2017, table RAS30006

[3] Rural roads, Road Safety Observatory, 2013

[4] The Relationship between Speed and Accidents on Rural Single-carriageway Roads, Transport Research Laboratory, 2002

[5] Rural Road Safety: A Literature Review, Scottish Executive Social Research, 2005

[6] Drivers urged: don't treat country roads like racetracks this summer, Brake and Digby Brown, 2014


Page last updated: November 2017

Travelling by bike and public transport

cycle4life_3Longer journeys can feel more convenient by car as it’s ‘door to door’. But have you considered using public transport and taking your bike with you for the bits of the journey at either end? This especially makes sense when commuting from one town to another, travelling to cities where parking can be a problem, or to rural areas where local bus services may be infrequent, or when visiting friends or going on holiday. Remember to consider the safety of what you are planning above all else. Make sure you are certain you have a safe route at either end.

Useful links:
Advice on travelling with your bike on public transport in the UK and abroad from the CTC.
Use a route planner listed on this page of Cycle4Life to plan your route.
Visit the campaigning page of Cycle4Life if you need to campaign for more safe routes for cyclists in your community.


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UK headed for gridlock as new record car use revealed

19 May 21016
 
 
Brake is concerned by worrying new figures showing car traffic reached a new peak in 2015. This means that overall traffic has increased by almost 19% since 1995.
 
The number of vehicle miles travelled grew by 1.1% in 2015, to 247.7 billion. This is a new record, being slightly higher than the previous peak in 2007.[i]
 
Van traffic has continued to grow more quickly than any other vehicle type, rising 4.2% from 2014 levels.[ii]Lorry traffic saw the largest year-on-year increase since the 1980s, growing by 3.7% from 2014.[iii]
 
Motorway use has now increased by 10 percent in the last ten years and in 2015 saw 66.5 billion vehicle miles of traffic, 2.6% more than in 2014[iv].
 
The use of rural roads went up by 2% from 2014, and traffic on both ‘A’ roads and minor roads reached record levels.[v]
 
There has been a worrying long-term decrease in the number of miles buses are now covering. From 2014 to 2015 there was a drop of 4.6% in bus and coach travel. This is perhaps not surprising; there has been a decrease of 21% in local authority supported bus services outside London in the last decade. A lack of public transport in some areas means many people are left with no other option than to use private vehicles.
 
Disappointingly, despite the recent increase in cycling, the amount of miles cycled in 2015, 3.2 billion, was down 6.1% on the year before. That’s after a steady increase between 2002 and 2014. Taking a longer view, cyclists in 2015 travelled only around one quarter of the 14.7 billion miles ridden in 1949.
 
Increases in traffic on the road network mean a greater number of interactions of vehicles and pedestrians and, therefore, increases the likelihood of crashes occurring. Per mile travelled, the risk of being killed or seriously injured in a road crash has fallen almost every year since 1949 but there was a slight increase in 2014.
 
Campaigns adviser for Brake, the road safety charity Alice Bailey said: “These new figures show our message of “drive less live more” is more pertinent than ever. We have record car usage in the UK along with all the congestion and pollution this brings. More traffic means more risks to vulnerable road users and danger to the health of both individuals and the planet. To see a reduction in levels of vehicle use, we need everyone to seriously consider if they really need to make that journey by car and always walk, cycle or use public transport if they can.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to Editors:
 
About Brake
 
Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education,services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
 
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.