South Norfolk MP wins national road safety award for campaign for community right to reduce speed

Monday 8 September 2014

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

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his campaign to give local residents the power to reduce speed limits in their own communities.

In a letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in August this year, Richard urged the government to introduce a 'community right to reduce speed', giving local residents the right to request their local highway authority lower the speed limit on any named road by 10mph – with a presumption in favour, unless local police have reason to object.

Richard's proposal is in line with the government's localism agenda – giving more rights to local communities. His approach emphasises the belief – shared by Brake – that local residents have the right to enjoy their communities without being endangered by fast traffic, and that they shouldn't have to wait for someone to be killed or injured before action is taken to prevent crashes.

First elected in 2001, Richard's campaign comes after many years of supporting communities to call for lower speeds and other road safety measures, often finding highway authorities unwilling to take prompt action. Many tragic crashes within Richard's constituency have spurred him to campaign for authorities to be more proactive in preventing devastating deaths and injuries. For example, one constituent, Andrew Mason, father of three, was killed when his motorcycle was hit by an elderly driver. This spurred Richard to urge Norfolk County Council to introduce pelican crossings and traffic lights in Harleston.

Richard has also been involved in campaigning to introduce a 20mph limit around Morley CE primary school, reviewing unsafe pavements, and reduce the speed limit on the A146 from 60mph to 40mph. He is now focusing on reducing speed limits and working with his constituents on specific roads, such as Long Lane, between Stoke Holy Cross and Framingham Earl. He has even taken part in Barford and Wramplingham Parish Council's 'OAP test', demonstrating the time required for an older pedestrian to cross the B1108 Norwich to Watton road.

Richard hopes to receive a response to his proposal from the transport secretary now parliament has returned from the summer break.

Brake campaigns nationally for safer roads for communities through its GO 20 and rural roads not racetracks campaigns. Brake also provides help and advice to support local community campaigns.

Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #GO20 #RuralRoadsnotRacetracks

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "Brake hears regularly from communities, like those in Richard's constituency, blighted by fast traffic and who feel frustrated and powerless to make their roads safer. We wholeheartedly agree with Richard that local residents have the right to enjoy their communities without being endangered by fast traffic, and they should not have to wait until someone is hurt before action is taken. We are delighted at Richard's proposal to empower communities to lower speed limits and make their roads safer for everyone, and we are pleased to present him with this award."

Accepting his award, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said: "Over the years, I have had many constituents contact me regarding speed limits on local roads which they want to see reduced. However, local highways authorities often respond that there have been too few crashes to warrant a reduction in the speed limit. I believe local people know what is best for their communities. My proposal for a 'community right to reduce speed' aims to give communities the power to decide for themselves what the right speed limit should be for their local roads. The important point is that it will be for residents, not highways officials or passing drivers, to decide what's best. I thank Brake for this award and for supporting my campaign to give communities the power to improve safety on local roads."

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.