Tuesday, 5 March 2024
Tuesday, 5 March 2024

Drivers urged to follow new Highway Code this National Road Safety Week

THE rates of deaths and serious injuries of people on foot and cycling rose significantly last year towards 2019 levels as the UK emerged from the pandemic, according to the latest crash data analysed and released by Brake, the road safety charity, this National Road Safety Week.    

Brake, which coordinates Road Safety Week and provides year-round support for families bereaved and seriously injured by devastating road crashes, is calling on everyone, particularly drivers, to help end the carnage and make Safe Roads for All, which is the theme of the week.    

Drivers are being called on to read and follow the new Highway Code, which changed this year giving greater priority to people cycling and on foot. The charity is calling on all drivers to stay within speed limits, slow down and give more space for people in towns and on rural roads.    

Analysis, by Brake, of 2021 British road crash data found that: 

  • The rate of deaths and serious injuries of people on foot, by distance travelled, increased by 19% in 2021 compared to 2020.  
  • The rate of deaths and serious injuries for cyclists, by distance travelled, increased by 27% in 2021 compared to 2020.  
  • By comparison, there was a 2% increase across all road users and a 3% increase for car occupants. The rates of deaths and serious injuries for car occupants changed little during the pandemic. 

The charity’s analysis also found that two in three of all deaths and serious injuries of people walking or cycling occurred on 30 mph limit roads. Driving at speeds of 20mph or below around people gives time to react, brake and prevent crashes.  

Out of 1,558 deaths nationally in 2021, 361 were people on foot and 111 were cyclists.  

Out of 25,892 serious injuries nationally in 2021, 5,032 were people on foot and 4,353 were cyclists.   

Out of these deaths on foot and bicycles, 17 were children on foot under the age of 16 and 3 were cyclists under the age of 16.  Out of the serious injuries on foot and bicycles, 1,252 were children on foot under the age of 16 and 392 were cyclists under the age of 16.  

The Government’s second Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy outlines the government’s ambition to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey, by 2040.  

Millions are due to take part in Road Safety Week again this year, as thousands of schools, communities, organisations and emergency services get involved with local activities, raising awareness and spreading messages to improve road safety across the nation. Brake has provided information, activities and teaching resources for people to get involved at https://www.brake.org.uk/road-safety-week.  

Road Safety Week is coordinated by Brake, the road safety charity, and in support of the Department for Transport’s THINK! Campaign. Brake also runs the National Road Victim Service, providing bereaved and seriously injured families with dedicated caseworkers, delivering emotional support, practical care and access to many other services road victims need.  

Brake chief executive Mary Williams OBE said:

“Road crashes devastate families who are bereaved and seriously injured. Road Safety Week is an opportunity for everyone – particularly drivers, and also employers, and community leaders – to come together and make roads safe for all, particularly the most vulnerable. Drivers can slow down and give people space. Employers can implement safe driving policies for their employees. Community leaders can work with their local authorities for measures that protect people, such as cycle paths. Road casualties are an appalling carnage that can and must end, through us all taking the right steps.” 

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