News from Brake
Monday 20 April 2020
Road safety charities, Brake and Cycling UK have joined forces to appeal to all drivers to slow down and take more care, as families and individuals across the country take advantage of quieter local roads for their daily exercise during lockdown.
Traffic counts across the UK show that the number of people driving has dropped, but the charities are concerned a minority of people are using the empty roads as an opportunity to drive at excessive speeds, following reports from the police and the wider public. Tragically, in some cases, this behaviour has already led to fatalities and serious injury to people walking, cycling and horse-riding.
The two charities are specifically asking drivers:
- To only drive if essential and always keep well within speed limits, slowing down around cyclists and in places where people live and exercise.
- Not to become complacent about quieter roads, as doing so risks injury and potential increases the pressure on the NHS and emergency services.
- To pay extra attention on country lanes, as people use these roads to get their daily exercise walking or cycling, often families with young children.
- To be aware that pedestrians may move out into the road to follow social distancing guidance as they pass one another, both in cities and on country roads.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake said:
“Breaking the speed limit is dangerous, selfish and never acceptable. With driving limited to essential journeys we would hope to see speeding decrease but sadly the opposite appears to be true.
“We implore all drivers to always keep well within speed limits and to be extra vigilant as people use local roads for their daily exercise. We particularly urge drivers to slow down on rural roads, some of which have 60mph speed limits and dangerous blind-bends that can hide people walking or cycling ahead.
“Every crash impacts lives and increases the burden on our stretched emergency services and NHS.”
Keir Gallagher, Cycling UK campaigns manager said:
“Over the past weeks one of the few positives has been seeing families and individuals discovering the joys of riding or walking on largely empty rural lanes and roads.
“However, Cycling UK is receiving regular reports of a minority of people driving way too fast. While reports of collisions are few, with so many families venturing out for their daily exercise especially on narrow rural roads, the consequences of dangerous driving now more than ever is a burden our NHS can ill afford.
“Cycling UK would appeal to drivers to give plenty of space when overtaking walkers, cyclists and horse riders and slow down as you never know who could be just around the corner.”
Notes to Editors:
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 Cycling UK
Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org