Road Safety Week and the UK’s green transport revolutionNovember 15th 2020
We’re enjoying a transport revolution in this country, with more and more people using bicycles and e-bikes, together with around two dozen towns and cities now running electric scooter trials.
This is great news from a road safety point of view for three very important reasons. Firstly, the fewer heavy vehicles there are on the roads, the safer we’ll be. It’s an unfortunate fact that it’s mostly heavy vehicles – cars, buses and lorries – that are involved in road traffic accidents that kill people .
Road safety has improved greatly in recent years with road deaths dropping from 3,221 fatalities in 2004, to around 1,750 per year in recent years . Whilst hundreds of pedestrians and vehicle occupants are killed every year in accidents involving motor vehicles, only around two pedestrians a year are killed as a result of being hit by a bicycle . That’s still two too many and around 100 cyclists are killed every year on the roads in collisions with cars and lorries .
The figures tell us that there’s a simple trade-off: The less we use cars and larger vehicles, and the more we use alternatives like bicycles and e-scooters, the fewer people will be killed or injured in collisions.
Did you know? It's Road Safety Week from 16-22 November!
There are two other reasons why our transport revolution means safer streets. Between 28,000 and 36,000 people a year are recorded as killed due to poor air quality in towns and cities . The key contributor to air pollution in our urban environment is the internal combustion engine.
Every time we drive our petrol or diesel car, or ride a bus into town, we’re effectively adding to the risk that we might cause another death. The more people that switch to electric forms of transport – alongside consciously opting for cleaner sources of energy – the more we improve our air quality and reduce death rates resulting from it.
Finally, there’s the question of active living. Statistically, around a third of men and nearly half of women aren’t sufficiently active to maintain good physical health. Physical inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths in the UK (for context, that’s equal to smoking) . Riding a bicycle or an e-bike is one of the simplest and most effective forms of exercise there is.
So every time you choose to ride instead of taking the car, you’re improving not only your own health and life expectancy, but also that of the people around you too.
Celebrate Road Safety Week from 16-22 November by getting out for a ride today!