Road Safety Week 2018 has been and gone but what a week it was! This year’s focus was Bike Smart and raising awareness about cyclist and motorcyclist safety – a timely theme with bike deaths making up a quarter of all road deaths in 2017 and our analysis showing that those on two wheels face 63 times higher risk of being killed or seriously injured, per mile travelled, than car drivers.
During the week, individuals, communities and organisations up and down the country shouted about the safety of those on two wheels and encouraged people to be bike smart whether through events, social media posts or participating in media activity. We want to thank all of you for taking part – an estimated 2.1M people!
In Bristol we had school children being able to play out on closed roads outside their school, thanks to the Playing Out movement, allowing the children, their families and residents to enjoy cycling without fear of traffic.
In London, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester, Brake volunteers and members of the public got on their (stationary) bikes to cycle 9,740km to represent the 9,740 cyclists and motorcyclists who were killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2017. With the help of other Virtual Cycle events in workplaces, gyms, schools, and even a restaurant, we collectively smashed the target – pedalling 10,015kms.
In the Palace of Westminster, Members of Parliament from all parties attended a Brake event to learn how they and their constituents could be Bike Smart, as well as finding time to have a go on a Virtual Reality Wheelswap experience - which some found uncomfortably real!
While down in Portsmouth, the 170m tall Spinnaker Tower was lit red throughout the week in memory and support of road crash victims and their families.
Brake spokespeople and volunteers could be found wherever you looked or listened on TV and radio, telling their hugely powerful stories and talking all things Bike Smart – a live interview on Sky News’ Lunchtime Live programme was a particular highlight, with Brake’s director of campaigns very much playing second-fiddle to our fantastic volunteer Jo. In print, the shocking stats of how many bike riders lost their lives or were seriously injured on the roads were reported from Lands End to John O Groats, spreading our Road Safety Week message far and wide.
The list of activities that happened throughout the country really is endless and there are many more wonderful events which I could mention here. It just goes to show the huge support that Road Safety Week gets every year and the power of everyone coming together to talk road safety. Don’t forget, there is always still time to share your activities with us, so we can celebrate your achievements.
The volume of our collective voices helped spread the messages produced in our fantastic education resources, interactives and videos (all still available via www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk). If you haven’t looked yet, I encourage you to do so now, including our first aid quiz that we produced with the support of British Red Cross. Hopefully people now know that being Bike Smart means being more aware of bikes and that there are easy measures everyone can take to improve their safety. So, for a final time, being Bike Smart is: slowing down, giving more time to spot danger and react; looking properly for bikes before pulling out at junctions; leaving at least 150cm between cars and a bike when overtaking; and by doing the ‘Dutch reach’, using the hand furthest from the door to open it to help avoid ‘car dooring’ incidents – a phrase which had probably never been used as much as it was in November!
Road Safety Week 2018 was a huge success and it would not have been possible without support from all of you, from our sponsors Devitt Insurance Services and Ford, to all the individuals, communities and organisations across the country who contribute so much to making it a truly memorable week. I would also like to give a special thanks to those supporters who have been bereaved or seriously injured and who helped spread the Road Safety Week message – your bravery leadership and the power of your message is hugely appreciated by all at Brake.
Road Safety Week 2018 may be over, but our messages and calls will continue to resonate. In Britain, a cyclist or motorcyclist is killed or seriously injured every hour, making clear that being Bike Smart doesn’t stop with Road Safety Week, it’s a message and attitude for the whole year.
Senior public affairs officer, Brake