Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, has called on the government to show ‘political leadership’ and ‘vision’ following the publication of road casualty figures for Q3 2011.
Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Quarterly Provisional Estimates, published by the DfT, records a fall of less than 0.5% for fatalities and 4% for fatal and seriously injured casualties in the 12-months to September 2011, compared to the previous 12-months. In the same period motor vehicle traffic levels fell by 0.7%.
The figures also point to a continued increase in cycling casualties, with cyclist KSIs up 7% on Q3 2010.
Robert Gifford said: “The best that can be said for these figures is that after two quarters of increases in road deaths, the figures show a small fall of 2%, a figure that is still far lower than in the previous three years where we saw an average quarterly reduction of 14%.
“This fall in deaths of just 2% suggests that overall road deaths will rise in 2011 – the first time this has occurred since 2003.
“Of particular concern is the steady rise in killed and seriously injured cyclists – up 7% compared to the same quarter in 2010. The policy aim must be to see more people cycling more safely. At present we are a long way from achieving this.
“These figures show that you cannot take road safety for granted. What is needed is consistent political leadership supported by a vision to improve our roads for all road users.
“Society should not tolerate deaths and injuries that can be prevented, especially when we have the means to prevent them at our disposal: slower speeds, investment in road engineering, maintaining a focus on vehicle design and effective enforcement of the law.
“Through the approach known as Vision Zero, Sweden has shown that you can continue to drive down death and injury. The British government needs to develop its own version of this.”
The IAM described the rise in cyclist casualties as “alarming”, adding that the “long-term trend for cyclists is deeply worrying”. IAM says there has been a 17.5% increase in cyclist casualties between 2007 and 2011.
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “It is extremely concerning that cyclists’ casualties are not reducing and this is something the Government and local councils must act must act on. This will mean changes to road layouts, more cycle training and promoting better awareness among drivers.”
Brian Gregory, chairman of the Association of British Drivers (ABD), also condemned the figures and the Government’s “tired policy”, saying: "This effective increase in road deaths per mile travelled is an abysmal indictment of the failed government medicine of the last decade or more.
“Despite massive improvements in car safety features which must have saved lives, the government plods on with the tired old policy of focus on speed limit enforcement as almost its sole road safety strategy whilst completely ignoring all other factors which cause the vast majority of crashes. The medicine isn’t working, the answer is not more of the same medicine!"
Click here to access the full casualty statistics on the DfT website.