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Road safety and a New Normal

Updated: Jan 9

The covid pandemic has had a massive impact on mobility. For example, earlier this year (March, April, May 2020) road travel plummeted by as much as 73% within the UK, to levels not seen since 1955. This not only had a positive effect on the climate but also reductions in traffic led to the number of road casualties to fall considerably. The government wanted to ensure more people were using individual ways of mobility, such as cars, walking and cycling once the first lockdown had ended. With the aim of taking pressure off public transport capacity. The government also introduced a £2 billion package to create a new era for cycling and walking which increases the variety of road users.


There are now clear and welcome signs that society is starting to move out of the crisis through increased economic activity, also, with increased road mobility. Wanting to take advantage of excellent timing this article aims to remind individuals about the importance of road safety to save lives and reduce injury - which lowers the pressure on emergency and healthcare services. Finally looking at the importance of good and responsible behaviour by all road users.


Photo Credit: Shishir Pandey

Importance of Road Safety

According to the World health organisation, 1.2 million people are killed worldwide on roads every year- that's nearly 3400 deaths a day worldwide. Half of those deaths are vulnerable road users cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists. Injuries caused by road traffic accidents globally is the leading cause of death globally for people aged 15-29 years old. Moreover, 3 out of 4 deaths are among men.


Injuries and deaths as a result of road traffic accidents can have a negative impact on individuals, families and communities within the UK. They involve a massive cost to the NHS and emergency services. It means that hospital beds are occupied, resources are used, there is a significant impact on productivity.


Prevention means will help save resources in the healthcare system. It will positively impact families and communities. Whether you’re a driver, cyclist, pedestrian or organisation such as a business or local council, you have the power to make a positive difference. Below we give some tips on how you can keep safe on the road.


Tips to keep you safe on the Road


Cyclist

  • Visibility is so important. Never assume a driver has seen you. by wearing bright clothing like a fluorescent vest and having lights on your bike is a practical way of reducing the risk of not being seen.

  • Road awareness - looking ahead for potholes, road humps, puddles (which can hide potholes) etc. Being aware of your surroundings will help you prepare for junctions, roundabouts, etc and help you prepare for potential problems. In doing so you can avoid breaking abruptly or sudden manoeuvres that other road users are not anticipating.

  • Watch out for car doors and never undertake a lorry.

  • Try to give other road users an idea of what you are doing. Signalling is a great way to do this. Look behind you, give notice and then manoeuvre when it is safe. If you need to practice signalling it's always a good idea to do so in a traffic-free environment.

  • Consider doing bikeability training. It is not just for children and you can benefit from a cycle training given by a professional.


Pedestrian

  • Stop, look and listen

  • Don’t try to cross the road between parked cars

  • If possible, cross at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights and if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of no pavement, then make sure you walk facing the traffic.

  • Never cross at a bend

  • If you're walking at night bring a torch or wear bright clothes so that you can be seen.


Drivers

  • There are many legal requirements that should be adhered to, to ensure maximum safety. For example, always wear your seatbelt, don’t speed, don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and don’t use your mobile whilst driving.

  • Being patient with other drivers and avoiding road rage.

  • Stopping at a safe distance.

  • Wearing a seatbelt

  • Drive with caution by the conditions of the road

  • Be aware of other road users

  • Ensure your vehicle is road safe.

  • Don’t drive tired

References

Written by Isabel Anderson

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