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.”