Local MP wins national road safety award for work to tackle casualties

Thursday 7 August 2014

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

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale and president of the Liberal Democrats, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his long-term campaign to make his constituency's roads safer and prevent casualties.

One of the main focuses of Tim's campaign has been the heavily used A684 between Kendal and Sedbergh, the scene of a number of major crashes in recent years. One of Tim's constituents, Gary Sharp, 48, died on the A684 on 25 October 2013, when his motorcycle collided with a car.

Devastating crashes such as this spurred Tim in his campaign to improve road safety in the area. It is believed that the road surface on the A684, which many of Tim's constituents described as slippery and unsafe, even at low speeds, may have contributed to the spate of crashes.

Tim and his team lobbied Cumbria County Council for months for a long term solution to improve safety on the road, and wrote numerous letters demanding action. The campaign has recently seen success with the A684 having been resurfaced at the end of June 2014.

Tim has also been active in his constituency campaigning to reduce speed limits, including the introduction of more 20mph limits, in line with Brake's GO 20 campaign. He has been looking out for the safety of vulnerable road users in his constituency, including cyclists, with whom he took a cycling trip to see first-hand the inadequate provision of safe cycling facilities in the area.

Tim is now lending his support to recommendations made by Parliament's Transport Committee in its report on cycling, calling for government funding for safe cycling infrastructure to be increased to at least £10 per head by 2020. However, Tim believes this should be done now, not in six years, and believes Cumbria can lead the way. His support for safer cycling echoes calls made by Brake in its recent report with RSA.

Brake campaigns for safer roads for cyclists and pedestrians in towns and villages through its GO 20 campaign, and for Rural roads not racetracks to stop crashes in the countryside.

Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #GO20 #RuralRoadsnotRacetracks

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "We are delighted that Tim has focused on the vital importance of making his constituency's roads safer and that he is pushing for 20mph limits on many local roads. We're campaigning nationally for all our communities to 'GO 20' and for drivers to slow down in both built-up and rural areas, to make our streets safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling. We are pleased to give Tim this award and we hope he continues to promote road safety, given his senior position within his party."

Accepting his award, Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: "Road safety has always been an important issue for me. As we've seen with the tragic death of Gary Sharp, roads like the A684 are potentially dangerous to my constituents. After months of campaigning alongside local residents, we have convinced Cumbria County Council to rectify the problems along that road. I thank Brake for this award and I plan to continue my work to reduce speed limits around my constituency to 20mph and also to make sure there are safe and efficient vehicle and pedestrian paths."

Notes for editors

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

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

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

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 on-line.

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