Campaigning road safety charity Brake has again done a great job this week in getting us to stop and consider how we can all contribute to making roads in the UK safer.
Road Safety Week has made headlines across the country, with the focus this year being on our over-reliance on our cars, leading to increasingly busier roads, more accidents, and greater levels of pollution.
Brake is calling on us all to ‘Drive Less, Live More’.
Launching this year’s awareness week, the charity revealed that almost 8 in 10 people questioned in a recent survey admitted to driving on journeys that could be made on foot, bicycle or by public transport.
It added that 85 per cent of those surveyed believe people should reduce car use overall.
As specialists in handling serious road accident compensation claims, we at Hudgell Solicitors can certainly see where Brake are coming from. If just a fraction of people chose to leave their car at home for journeys which are suitable to walk or cycle, our roads would certainly become safer for all.
However, whilst we support the campaign fully, we also recognise there will not be a quick fix, especially as both cyclist and traffic numbers are on the rise year after year.
In 2014 there was the highest rise in vehicles on the UK roads for almost two decades, whilst pedal cyclist traffic rose by 3.8 per cent.
Department of Transport figures show the number of pedal cyclist casualties to have risen by 9.5 per cent in 2014, with a total of 21,287 cyclists injured on the UK’s roads. Of those, 3,401 suffered injuries classed as serious, with 113 people killed.
This number of total casualties is an increase of 31 per cent since 2007, with cyclists now the only road user group with casualty numbers above the 2005 to 2009 average.
It is for that reason that we believe education, advice and safety measures in busy towns and cities across the country must be made a priority.
Many new cyclists are taking to the roads, and probably have little experience of riding amongst busy traffic, often coming face to face with aggressive driving styles given the demands of modern life.
We’ve recently seen Mayor Boris Johnson launch his cycle superhighway in a bid to make cycling safer in the capital.
He had already taken action to ban lorries from entering London without certain safety equipment, and has proposed additional safety improvements to further reduce the driver blind spots that contribute to so many tragic accidents.
It is still though an issue which splits opinion.
For our part, we would like to see a national focus placed on improving cyclist safety, because if more people are to do as Brake suggests and get out of their cars and onto their bikes, it is a must to keep our roads safer for all.