It’s Road Safety Week!

When you’re busy concentrating on driving, it can be all too easy to forget that there are plenty of other road users around who could be vulnerable if you don’t watch out for them. Look out for each other is the theme of this year’s Road Safety week, which runs from 17-23 November, organised by road safety charity Brake.
The aim of the week is to encourage those in charge of vehicles to watch out for everyone else who shares our roads.

Pedestrians and cyclists

The campaign’s particular focus this year is those on foot and bikes.  According to government figures, six people are killed and 157 seriously injured every week while walking or cycling. Last year in the UK, a total of 518 people were killed and 8,345 seriously injured while cycling or walking, and risks are heightened during dark winter evenings. Brake wants pedestrians and cyclists never to take chances and to ensure they are in high visibility clothing and use torches or lights when it is dark.

20 = plenty

The charity is also calling on motorists to slow down to 20 miles per hour in built-up areas and is asking them to look for longer, and slow down at junctions and bends.
20 mph road sign
Blind spots are a particular risk on larger vehicles, such as trucks, which are involved in almost a quarter (23%) of cyclist deaths in Britain, even though they make up only 5% of road traffic.

Community action

Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said:“Road safety is a critical issue for all families and communities, and we’re calling on parents and community leaders to play their part in making their area safer. “Road Safety Week is a perfect opportunity to take action on local road safety issues, by campaigning, raising awareness and making a difference – especially in relation to protecting the most vulnerable road users, like children. “Our theme this year is ‘look out for each other’, calling on everyone to be considerate on roads, but especially calling on drivers to slow down and take care to protect people on foot and bike. Parents and community groups can help get this vital message out, and make a big difference to their local community.” If you want to get involved in the campaign, you can log onto the website for ideas and to register for a free e-action pack to help you take part. Communities can promote road safety in local newsletters and employers can also do their bit by having good practice procedures in place for any of their staff who drive for work.

Driving to work

A Brake and Licence Bureau survey out last month (October 15), which questioned 228 companies operating commercial vehicles, company cars or vans, or with employees who drive their own vehicles to business appointments, found that more than half don’t provide driver education on protecting pedestrians and cyclists. Six in 10 companies don’t instruct drivers on looking twice and checking mirrors at junctions for cyclists or motorcyclists, and nine in 10 don’t plan routes to avoid schools and residential areas.

Employer involvement

Ellie Pearson, senior professional engagement officer at Brake, said: “Employers have a crucial role to play in preventing people on foot and bicycle needlessly losing their lives or suffering terrible injuries. Some are working hard and taking advantage of new technologies to minimise the risks their staff pose when driving on company time. “And we know that when employers reduce these risks, they reap benefits like reduced costs and enhanced morale and reputation. But it is disappointing that many employers are failing to take simple steps to ensure their drivers are doing everything possible to protect pedestrians and cyclists. “We’re appealing to all employers with staff who drive for work to get the right policies in place, make use of technologies to address blindspots and speeding, and ensure their drivers understand that protecting people always comes first.” Companies can get a free pack of resources to help them promote safe driving messages by registering at the website.

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