Swansea East AM wins national road safety award as charity calls on Welsh Government to lead the way on 20mph limits

Tuesday 9 June 2015

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

Mike Hedges, AM for Swansea East, has been named road safety parliamentarian of the month for May 2015 by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group. The award recognises the Swansea AM’s work to make walking and cycling to schools in Llansamlet safer, enabling more kids to enjoy healthy, active travel. Mike becomes the first Welsh Assembly Member to be recognised by the award.

Mike Hedges’ campaigning has met with encouraging success, helping to secure £241,000 from Sustrans’ Safe Routes to School initiative in May 2015 to improve road safety in the area of two schools in his constituency, Trallwn Primary and Talycopa Primary. The money is set to pay for a park and stride facility for Trallwn Primary School, and new pedestrian crossings and cycle facilities for both schools. Both schools will also see a 20mph speed limit adopted in the surrounding area to protect people on foot and bike.

Mike’s work had already helped spur Swansea Council implementing 11 new 20mph zones in 2014. 20mph speed limits are becoming more and more widely recognised as one of the best ways to protect people on foot and bike, helping adults and children to walk and cycle in their communities, for their health and enjoyment, and as a sustainable way to get about, without being put in danger. Find out more.

Brake calls for a 20mph default speed limit around homes, schools and shops through its GO 20 campaign, and is urging the Welsh Government to use new speed limit powers set to be devolved under the St. David’s Day Agreement to make this happen in Wales.

The award coincides with nearly 7,000 school children across Wales preparing to take to the streets as part of Brake’s Giant Walk at 10am tomorrow (10 June 2015). The annual event will see kids across the nation putting their best feet forwards for road safety: to say "yes!" to the health and planet-saving benefits of walking, and "no!" to fast driving that threatens their safety.

Brake is part of the GO 20 coalition campaign for a 20mph default urban speed limit, to cut road casualties and empower more people to walk and cycle in safety. Tweet us: @Brakecharity, #GO20

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer, Brake, the road safety charity, said: “Road safety is about more than stopping people being hurt or killed on our roads – vital through that is. It’s also about making sure everyone has the freedom to travel actively, by foot or bike, without fear of fast traffic. This is especially important for children, to make sure they get a healthy and active start in life. That’s why we’re delighted that Mike Hedges has been working hard to make sure children in his constituency can get to school safely by walking and cycling, and why we’re pleased to present him with this award. 20mph limits especially are accepted best practice when it comes to protecting kids on foot and bike, and we hope to see more being rolled out in the area.

“That Mike becomes the first Welsh Assembly Member to be recognised by this award reflects the growing importance of devolved government to improving road safety in the UK. With the pending devolution of speed limit powers to the Welsh Government, this is the right time for Wales to take a lead on UK road safety and move towards a safer, healthier 20mph future.”

Accepting his award, Mike Hedges, AM for Swansea East, said: “I am very pleased to receive the award but a lot of the credit goes to the Llansamlet councillors who have worked with me to achieve these improvements.

“I have campaigned for many years on road safety and 20mph speed limits and I remember as a councillor being told that if I had traffic calming measures put in that the people opposed to it would ensure that I was voted out. My reply then is the same reply I would give now; that if the price of election is to put children at risk that is a price I would not be prepared to pay.

“The work done will include speed calming measures, cycle ways, and traffic lights under the railway bridge to enable children to walk safely, and a park and stride facility. This should improve road safety for children attending both schools.”

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. Follow Julie Townsend on Twitter.

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 .