See Me Save Me is a new campaign to make HGVs safer and reduce the shocking levels of injury inflicted by them on vulnerable road users, particularly on cyclists but also pedestrians. The campaign is pressing for better design of trucks, improved on-vehicle safety technology and better design of junctions.
This is one of saddest maps I have ever studied. It is an online slippy map showing where people died in traffic collisions – every single square represents someone who didn’t come home one day over the past 10 years. Here are some screen-grabs. The first image is for the West Midlands area; the blue square indicate where people were killed in traffic crashes while walking, the green ones for people cycling, the orange ones for people on motorbikes and the purple ones for vehicle occupants. The second image gives a more detailed view. Notice the 1 year old girl, the 12 year old boy, the 20 year old young woman and all the others. Do try it for yourself and see what the war likes around where you live. When is this civil war (between motorcars and people) going to be brought to a close and who will ensure that it happens? Possibly for starters we should take a moment to grieve on Sunday along with thousands of other people around the world on World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. See below for places where services are being held in memory in the UK.
Services are being held in these places on Sunday 20th November 2011:
Aberdeen, Kings College Chapel, 3pm Contact: June Ross 07595 904360
Ashburton, St Andrew’s Church, 2.30pm Contact: Jeff Baker 01392 435627
Bath, Chapel Arts Centre, 3pm Contact: Sandra Green 01275 399025
Brecon, Brecon Cathedral, 3:30pm Contact: Cathedral: 01874 623857
Cambridge, St Luke’s Church, 3.30pm Contact: Rev Lance Stone 01223 351174
Carlisle, Carlisle Cathedral, 3pm Contact: Rev Mark Boyling 01228 523335
Chichester, Chichester Cathedral, 3:30pm Contact: Paul Foster 0781 069 7781
Gloucester, Gloucester Cathedral, 3pm Contact: Canon Celia Thomson 01452 415824
Hailsham, St Peter & St Pauls Church, 3pm Contact: Gill Powell 01323 847714
Halifax, Piece Hall, 3pm Contact: David Short 01422 392142
Hereford, Hereford Cathedral, 3:30pm Contact: Jackie Boys 01432 373311
Hull, St Mary’s The Virgin, Lowgate, 2pm Contact: Rev Michael Hills 01482 214551
Kidderminster, St Ambrose R.C. Church, 6.30pm Contact: Christine Sollom 01299 832581
Leeds, Leeds Parish Church, 3pm Contact: Carole Whittingham 0845 1235541
Lincoln, Central Methodist Church, 3pm Contact: Simon 01522 504 0711
Liverpool, St John’s Gardens, 1pm Contact: Pauline Fielding 01513 426381
Liverpool, Parish Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas, 3pm Contact: Pauline Fielding 01513 426381
London, St James’s Church, Piccadilly, 2:30pm Contact: RoadPeace Office 020 7733 1603
Northampton, Holy Sepulchre, 3pm Contact: Chris & Nicole Taylor 01604 705171
Norwich, R.C. Cathedral of St John the Baptist, 3.30pm Contact: Bridget Wall 01366 382433
Preston, Christ Church Precinct, 11am Contact: Maria Hodgson 01772 720279
Ripon, Ripon Cathedral, 3pm Contact: Rev Keith Jukes 01765 603462
Sheffield, Upper Chapel, Unitarian Church, 6.30pm Contact: Rev David Shaw 0114 272 5338
Thame, St Mary the Virgin Church, 3pm Contact: Elizabeth Richardson 01189 231802
Worksop, St John’s Church, 3pm Contact: Mrs A Moat 01909 472324
Edinburgh is proposing a significant increase in the number of streets covered by 20mph. This is being promoted as a way to encourage waking and cycling and to improve road safety. It has been reported that they also support the scheme because ‘lower speeds make people feel safer when they are walking and cycling and make streets better places to live’. I am very supportive of 20mph zones, I live in one myself, and they do indeed help make streets feel less intimidating. However.. it is also very clear that 30 mph speed limits are being retained on the roads where most people are getting injured.
Here are three maps to show the compromises being taken between road safety and ‘keeping traffic moving’. The first map shows the proposed streets to be 20 mph (green and yellow) and 30 mph (blue). The second map shows where people have been injured between 2000 and 2010 by mode (blue for pedestrian, red for cyclists, tan/green for vehicle occupant). The final map shows these two superimposed illustrating that very few crashes from the past 10 years have actually occurred on the roads included on the scheme. (Click on maps for full size versions)
One realistic approach for now might be to welcome the introduction of these 20 mph limits in residential areas and also to also press for average speed camera checks on the remaining arterial roads enforcing the 30 mph limit as they have just installed in part of Plymouth.
The Stats19 casualty data that the police have been patiently collecting for many years now is a mine of information. Here are some maps looking at where pedestrians and cyclists are injured and killed depending on their ages. I have taken three places which show up some patterns which deserve more analysis (London, Edinburgh and Northampton). There are some obvious patterns, in that children are hurt in the residential areas, 16-55 year olds tend to be injured in the commercial centres and along the main arterial roads whereas 55+ year olds have their own distinct patterns. However, it is also possible to see tell-tail clusters which deserve more investigation, including the apparent rat-runs along ‘residential’ roads that have much higher levels of injury than surrounding roads, and also the junctions and sections roads where higher numbers of casualties that surrounding ones. Click on the maps to make them bigger and see what you can find.
Lots more mapping coming up on the lead up to World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims on the 20th Nov.
Thank you to the hundreds of cyclists who took part in the Tour du danger today to highlight a number of London’s most dangerous junctions and put pressure on the Mayor and on TfL to do some serious work on them.
Here are some maps showing where people are have been getting killed and injured in recent years. The first one shows deaths and injuries from traffic crashes between 2000 and 2010, the second for 2010 only and the next one for 2009 and the final one for 2000. Areas of blue indicate were pedestrians are getting injured and killed, red shows the high risk areas for cyclists. Purple is for motorcyclists and tan/green for vehicle occupants. Click on the images to see them full size.
These maps appear to show that fatalities amongst vehicle occupants has fallen from 17 in 2000 to one in 2009 and then zero in 2010. For cyclists the trend is apparently going the other way (up from four in 2000 to eight in 2009 and also in 2010). Motorcyclist fatalities are up from 0 in 2000 to 6 in 2010, pedestrians falling significantly. Do however be aware that this map only shows one fatality blob for crashes with multiple fatalities (which may include multiple modes). I will do some more work on this in the coming week and the figures may then need to be adjusted upwards.
Based on Stats19 road casualty data. See ‘Reported Road Casualties Great Britain‘ for more details.
Ipswich Borough Council staff are disrupting pedestrians near to road works by leaving signs on pavement with only 800mm clearance (which is about the width of an external door to a house and less than the legally required 1 meter for road works signs). Only when pressed did they confirm that they knew the law about 1 meter clearance. Their justification was that they were concerned about the risk to motorists if the signs were further into the road – no concern at all that I heard about the risk to pedestrians and old people from leaving them on the pavement. I have reported this on fixmystreet which the council monitors and responds to.
Here are some photos of the signs in question. The good news is that there is a 100% clear rule that they are breaking in this case. No excuses about it being a ‘necessary obstruction’ or a ‘willful obstruction’. It is however a very clear example of the contempt that pedestrians are treated with and is, I am sure, repeated across the country. Incidentally I am still waiting for May Gurney to ask for their signs backwhich they left blocking a pavement over a week ago!
The following day all consideration of pedestrians had disappeared.
Caroline Russell from Islington Living Streets left a comment on my last post highlighting the fact that people get killed and seriously injured on artery roads, not on the residential roads where 20 mph speed limits are to be promoted by the government. Personally I think 20 mph limit area for residential roads are great and reduce the level of intimidation or pedestrians, I live in one. I am however also aware that people do indeed get killed and seriously injured on the arterial roads. Here is a map showing all killed and seriously injured in the period 2000-2008 inclusive for part of Islington/Hackney showing that injuries and deaths do indeed occur on arterial roads.
Here is a map for a larger area – notice how the arterial road network is visible even at this scale solely from the location of traffic casualties. click to open the image at full resolution.
And here is one for most of north London. Again the arterial road network can be identified very easily. Click to open the image at full resolution.
Mapping using Stats19 police data for casualties, OpenStreetMap for the rail and rail networks and OS Boundary-Line for boundaries. Maps created using ITO Map (pre-release version). All maps cc-by-sa 3.0.
Philip Hammond has explained today that he wants us to drive faster on motorways in order to create a ‘healthy economy‘, ‘generate hundreds of millions of pounds of economic benefit‘ and ‘put Britain back in the fast lane of global economies‘. This proposal was evidently resisted by the Health Secretary and the Energy Secretary for obvious reasons and the RAC Foundation estimates that driving 10 mph faster increases fuel use and CO2 emissions by more than 20%; the AA have reported that we are actually driving more slowly now in response to increased fuel costs. Hammond says it won’t increase road casualties – others disagree. I think this whole proposal is rather unhelpful and may well back-fire on the government. However…
My main interest here is on the needs of the pedestrian and Philip Hammond also promised a big expansion of 20 mph speed limit zones in urban areas where nearly all of the 403 pedestrian road fatalities, 5,000 serious injuries and 20,000 slight pedestrian injuries occurred during 2010; 42% of all road fatalities also occurred in urban areas. We need to continually remind people of the scale of the road safety problem in our country and press for these 20 mph limits in residential areas which have proved to be very effective.
Here are a couple of maps showing the scale of our road safety problem. The first map shows the locations of all pedestrian deaths (red dots), serious injuries (purple dots) and slight injuries (blue dots) on GB roads between 2000 and 2008; other road deaths and serious injuries are shown using lighter grey dots. The boundaries are parliamentary constituencies. Click on the map to enlarge.
This second map shows all road fatalities (red), serious injuries (purple) and slight injuries (blue) for 2008 when 2,500 people died and 26,000 were seriously injured.
Since 2005 the United Nations has supported the inspiring World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims which is an opportunity to reflect and remember those killed on our roads. It takes place this year on 20th November with services across the UK and all round the world. Why not ensure that a suitable remembrance service is held near where you live this year?
Following a discussion this blog in response to my recent ‘Safe’ routes to school – no pavements and unlit at 60 mph? blog post, here are examples of rural speed limits in Holland in the the UK. Notice that many Dutch rural roads have 50 mph speed limits (purple) and 40 mph (red) rather than 60 mph (light blue) or dark blue (70 mph). Across the North Sea on the east coast of England all rural roads are 60 mph, no 50 mph speed limits at all and very few 40mph limits. The speed data is from OpenStreetMap and has been visualised by ITO Map. The speed data is not yet complete If you are able to help please then please add information to OpenStreetMap for your area and places that you visit.
This final image shows pedestrian road casualties for Tendering District since 1986. Large blobs are deaths, small ones are serious injuries. Red for pedestrian, blue for driver, green for passenger. Most pedestrian casualties are in the towns, which is likely to be for two reasons – firstly that most pedestrians movements naturally take place in towns and secondly because pedestrians avoid rural roads knowing that they are unsafe. Casualty data from Stats19 police data. Do remember that road deaths have fallen massively since 1985 when some 5,500 people were killed in GB compared to 1,857 last year.
Rural roads without pavements and 60mph speed limits are apparently officially considered ‘safe’ for children to walk to and from school on as long as the section without a footway is less than 3 miles long (2 miles long for under 8s). To quote the guardian today “School transport spending cuts mean that from this week many pupils will be walking to school along unlit 60mph roads without pavements … The current guidelines presume children will be accompanied by a responsible adult, meaning councils can declare routes up to three miles long (or two miles for under eights) safe even if they are unlit, have 60mph speed limits, no pavements or step-offs, and are used by heavy commercial traffic“. I believe that this is the road illustrated in the article as shown on Google Streetview.
Of course if drivers were to travel at a speed where they could stop within the distance they could see and ensured that pedestrians could walk safely along the edge of the carriageway then this might be sort of OK, but in current conditions where pedestrians are frequently forced to climb onto the verge for their own safety then it is not. Do check out my recent post about what happened to the father who wanted to ensure the safety of his child walking to school along a road that is probably very similar to the ones being discussed in this article who was threatened with arrest if he ‘willfully obstructed’ the traffic again.
Incidentally, in 2009 the Department for Transport proposed dropping the speed limit on many rural roads to 50mph estimating that this would cuts deaths by 250 per year but the idea was soon dropped. Rospa noted in 2010 that “Around one third of pedestrian fatalities occur on rural roads and the other two thirds on urban. Pedestrian injuries in rural areas are more likely to be fatal however, and the figures from table 2 show that 5% of all recorded pedestrian injuries resulting in a fatality, compared with urban areas where fatal casualties are 1.5%” and proposed lowering speed limits to 50 mph on some rural roads. Brake proposed it again earlier this year after commissioning a survey which found that one in eight drivers admitted overtaking on single carriageway roads when they could not see if it was clear.