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New report looks at improvement in road safety for UK pedestrians and cyclists

A report from the UK’s National Audit Office highlights the fall in the number of deaths among both pedestrians and cyclists since the mid-1990s, although more remains to be done to improve their safety. The number of deaths among pedestrians has fallen by 36%, according the report, but the UK is some way behind some of the better-performing nations, particularly for child pedestrians. The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fell from 2000 to 2004, but rose again by 11% from 2004 to 2007, despite the amount of cycling staying broadly constant.

The report also says that the Department for Transport’s budget for its own road safety activities in 2008-9 was US$54 million (£36 million), but this funding is not directed at specific road users and many other bodies contribute to road safety, making it difficult to determine the effectiveness of the DfT’s specific contribution. The DfT has, however, taken a number of relevant measures to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries amongst pedestrians and cyclists, including a general strategy for road safety which has provided a focus for other organizations working in this field.

The Association of British Drivers (ABD) welcomes the Audit office report and demands that full facts and figures for every child death for the last three years are published in detail, with only the names and personal details of those involved removed. “It is scandalous that the UK is falling behind other countries in road deaths and casualties,” says ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries. “The government has for years adopted a one-track policy on road safety of targeting speed limit infringement, while ignoring virtually all other causation factors. Our government has been allowed to hide away and manipulate the figures to justify their policies for far too long.”

“Let us see for ourselves how many deaths are caused by drunk, drugged or unlicensed drivers or massive recklessness on the part of pedestrians and cyclists, how many are caused by stolen vehicles, how many are caused by distraction and how many are caused solely because a car was traveling between 32km/h (20mph) and 48km/h (30mph),” says ABD chairman, Brian Gregory. “Quick investigations of local newspaper reports are revealing enough, but let’s have the full story.”
 

May 11, 2009

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