National Conference opens in Harrogate

12.00 | 13 November 2013 | | 2 comments

Almost 250 road safety professionals and others from across the UK and further afield have converged on Harrogate today (13 November) for the first day of the 2013 National Road Safety Conference.

This year’s annual event is being hosted by Road Safety GB Yorkshire & Humber Region and will take place at The Majestic Hotel in Harrogate on 13-14 November. The event has three generous sponsors in Colas (for a fourth consecutive year), AA DriveTech (for a second year) and FirstCar.

The exhibition which runs alongside the conference is once again a sell-out success with 23 participating organisations.

The conference itself comprises six sessions including a focus on ‘young people’ and ‘innovation and social media’. There is a Question Time session on the Thursday morning and a debate on the subject of 20mph limits on the Wednesday afternoon.

The conference has opened with a presentation from Honor Byford, the incoming chair for Road Safety GB, who has officially assumed her duties following the AGM immediately prior to the conference itself.

As well as delegates from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland there will be attendees from Romania, the Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man.

Road Safety GB will be running a live Twitter feed throughout the conference (#RSGB2013) and a series of ‘live’ reports from the conference will also be published on this newsfeed during the event.

For more information please contact Sally Bartrum, conference administrator, on 01379 650112.


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    As Rod chose to publish his pitch, here is mine.

    In all walks of life, safe is defined as being free from harm (to people) or, given that few things (and especially road safety) can ever be totally safe, safe is defined as presenting an acceptable level of risk of harm [to people].
    To make roads safer, we must aim to reduce risk to road users, which we can measure in terms of levels of casualties. Preventing collisions/casualties requires understanding what causes “accidents” in the first place.
    The recipe for an accident involves a hazard (or hazardous condition) AND a triggering event. A hazard could be a sharp knife in the washing-up bowl, or a football on the stairs. No accident will occur if no-one puts their hand in the bowl, or uses the stairs (those would constitute triggering events).
    In road safety, hazards can originate in the:
    1. driver – tired, drunk/drugged, poor eyesight, using phone
    2. vehicle – dirty/misted windows, not properly lit at night, worn tyres, badly maintained
    3. weather conditions or time of day – fog, snow/ice, darkness, twilight, bright sun, high winds
    4. road layout – unfamiliar, confusing, missing signs, too many signs
    5. other road users – vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, animals.
    Triggering events are numerous and varied: misjudgement, poor observation, lapse of concentration, unsignalled manoeuvre, aggressive driving, vehicle failure, falling asleep, and so on.
    The combination of hazard and triggering event initiates an accident sequence, which will become an accident/collision unless something can prevent it. An accident sequence, once started, can be stopped or mitigated by the actions of those involved, crash barriers, seatbelts, air-bags, crumple zones, ABS, luck, etc.
    Road safety will be improved by removing/reducing hazards or preventing triggering events.
    Does 20mph remove hazards?
    • Speed limits encourage lawful drivers to drive at, or below, that speed
    • So is a lawful driver exceeding a speed limit a hazard? If that were the case, then simply lowering a speed limit would immediately make vehicles “hazardous” that were previously not hazardous – that is obviously illogical, since the number on a sign has no bearing on the accident situation.
    • Any moving vehicle is hazardous to some degree, and that hazard may vary with speed but, in terms of speed alone and within the scenarios we are considering, there is no threshold that would be recognised as intolerable.
    Conclusion: 20mph does not remove hazards (or have any positive effect on them).
    Does 20mph remove triggering events? Simply NO.
    In fact, it can introduce hazards (pedestrians and cyclists can be lulled into a false sense of safety) and events (walking into the road without checking for traffic).
    Conclusion: 20mph does not make roads safer – it actually makes them less safe.

    Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This is the text of my “5 minute speech” to the conference for the 20mph debate. Completed in 4 minutes 45 seconds!

    Does 20mph make roads safer
    Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be here today. Do 20mph limits make roads safer?
    I believe that not only includes direct casualties from roads but also the indirect danger, risk or injury from the way that we use roads and over-use of such public places for motorised travel.
    And that includes :-
    • the harm done to a child’s independent mobility when the fear of traffic inhibits their ability to walk or cycle to school.
    • the injury to people with respiratory conditions that are caused by pollution and our inability to shift transport modes.
    • the contribution of traffic speed to suppressing active travel and its consequence for levels of obesity
    • the harm done to our elderly when they give up their daily walk to the shops due to concern at the speed of traffic.
    • And, the 739 who died and the 140,000 people injured on our built-up roads last year.
    And I assume that in this debate we are talking about Total 20 where urban and village roads have a default of 20mph with exceptions where appropriate and little physical calming. I am aware that this is a departure from the micro-engineering of particular streets and instead looks to wide-scale behaviour change out of choice within our communities. Is that a big ask? And is it an even bigger ask for Road Safety departments who have been subject to reducing budgets and influence? However it is the breadth and depth of benefit from wide-area 20mph limits that not only justifies the intervention but also pays for implementation.
    And whilst road safety officers have a right to be sceptical, they equally have a responsibility to be objective. And what pleases me is that wherever traffic authorities have piloted wide-area 20mph limits and reviewed the results in depth they have come to the conclusion that 20mph limits make for a safer and better place. Typically, my own home town of Warrington found a 27% reduction in casualties on their piloted residential streets over and above that elsewhere in the town. And they have reached similar conclusions in most of our largest conurbations and iconic cities. The list is impressive 25% of London Boroughs, Manchester, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Birmingham, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Bath, Portsmouth, Liverpool, York, Brighton, Lancashire and many more.
    And this should hardly be surprising. In the distance a 20mph vehicle can stop a 30mph vehicle is still doing 24mph. The energy required to reach 30mph is 2¼ times that required to get to 20mph.
    But much more than this, 20mph limits have become a proxy for a complete re-valuation of the purpose and use of the public spaces between our buildings that we call streets. And I suspect it’s that which really scares its opponents. Today we, and our communities, have become far more sophisticated in both our aspiration for those streets to be better places to be, regardless of our transport mode, and in our understanding of how our current way of sharing roads harms the most vulnerable in our society both through direct casualties and through the indirect consequences of speed. The issue now effects and involves health, education, social services, traffic departments, police, fire and of course, the community itself.
    It is this collective commitment to creating safer places and multi-agency collaboration which is the foundation upon which future road safety policies are being developed.
    Make no mistake, we are in transition from an 80 year old 20th century default speed limit of 30mph for urban areas to what will become the 21st century norm of 20mph. It’s why it’s now Time for 20 on our urban and village streets to make them better and safer places to be. Thank you.

    Rod King 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.