Posts tagged ‘road safety’

9 September, 2014

A message from your virtual coach

Cycling legend Shane Sutton has sent his support to Securitas UK staff as they do a virtual cycling tour of the UK to raise funds for RoSPA.

Hi Guys,

Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for getting involved and increasing awareness in something that is not only relevant to our strategy at British Cycling and Sky Racing of increasing rider participation from all walks of life, but also something that has impacted me personally, which is the safety of our cyclists on the road.

If we are to achieve these goals then we need to ensure that not just cyclists but all road users become aware of the dangers and hopefully make our roads safer for everyone.

Shane Sutton

Shane Sutton

You may be aware that Bradley and I were involved in serious road collisions recently which landed both of us in hospital, which just goes to show that even professional cyclists are not immune to the dangers of our busy roads.

Thankfully Brad went on to win a yellow jersey and I was quickly back on my bike, but it could have easily been a lot more serious. The point is that motorists are on the whole not use to, or aware of, cyclists and the dangers they face on a daily basis and that is why I am delighted and very grateful to you all for giving your time and energy to this great campaign which really will highlight the need for safer cycling on our roads.

I’m sorry that I am not able to attend your virtual tour, as I will be involved in our own tour of Britan, but I will be thinking of you and the great work you are doing.

Aberdeen to Uxbridge is a long ride so there will be some tough times ahead and no doubt some fine saddle sores to compare but remember pain is temporary, achieving your goal lasts forever. Pedal hard and have some fun as you ride.

Good luck to you all and I will be checking on your results.

Shane Sutton OBE (Your virtual Coach!)

1 September, 2014

Back to school – Lifesaving tips for drivers and parents

Ah, September. The smell of diesel fumes hangs heavy in the air, the pavements overflow with sleep-deprived children, while commuters attempt to contort their bodies to squash sardine-like into creaking buses and trains. It can only mean one thing – school’s back! Whether you’re a parent or driver, it’s important that you take extra care on the roads this car_kidsautumn and encourage your children to do the same. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips to make the morning and evening commute that little bit safer!

For parents:

Using the car

• Check that your child is correctly restrained. If you’re planning to carry any extra children make sure that you have the age-appropriate child seat. Please see the RoSPA’s dedicated website – www.childcarseats.org.uk – for more car seats advice.

• Choose a safe place to drop your child off near to the school. Aim for somewhere where you won’t cause congestion and danger to those walking or cycling to school.

• Talk to your children about road safety on your way to school, stress the importance of wearing a seatbelt.

 Walking to school

• If you are planning to let your child walk to school on their own for    the first time, talk to them about the route they child_handwill use and the  dangers they may encounter. Watch your child so that you can judge whether they have the ability to cross roads safely on their route to school.

• Children learn by watching adults. If walking your child to school, talk to them about how they can keep themselves safe and always try to set a good example when crossing the road.

Cycling to school

Cycling is a fun and healthy way to get to school, especially if a few simple precautions are taken:

• If your child is planning to cycle to school, check that their bike is in good working order. Ensure the brakes work, the tyres are pumped up and the saddle and handlebars are securely tightened.

Family and friends cycling• Plan the route they will take and consider cycling it with them for the first time.

• RoSPA recommends that a helmet be worn at all times.

For drivers:

• Be extra observant and keep a watchful eye for children walking and cycling to school, they might be distracted and excited.

• Reduce your speed where you see lots of children, especially near to schools. If you are driving at 30mph and a child runs out, your stopping distance will be at least 23 metres.

• Rushing causes accidents – give yourself more time for your journey and never be tempted to speed!

For more vital health and safety guides, facts and advice, sign up to SafetyMatters, RoSPA’s free fortnightly newsletter!

Nick Lloyd, RoSPA road safety manager

13 May, 2014

Safer Streets for everyone – join the movement, make a difference!

Here at RoSPA, we want to see safer streets that encourage walking and cycling not only because it helps to prevent injuries, but also because it has a positive effect on a range of health-related issues, including heart disease, mental health and air pollution.

PrintMaking these links between safer roads and wider health issues are crucial. They can have a big impact on families too. Imagine being able to make the journey to school by bike, scooter or on foot without fear of being knocked down by speeding traffic. How would your children feel? Energised, happy, healthy…the list is endless.

Helping to make this vision a reality is Sustrans – which aims to help people choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys and enjoy better, safer spaces to live in. This week, Sustrans is launching a new campaign for Safer Streets and needs your support. The campaign is calling for:

  • 20mph default speed limits across built up areas – this will make everyone’s route safer
  • Dedicated funding for active travel – this will provide the resources needed to transform routes and invest in walking and cycling locally
  • Stronger duties and incentives on local authorities to develop routes and promote cycling and walking.

On the Sustrans website, you can find out more about getting support for making your street safer by creating a “DIY Street” – a tool to enable communities to take vital first steps to restore their streets for people and not cars.

Earlier this year, we unveiled new guidance for road safety and public health professionals to help boost the nation’s health. The report reveals that the greatest impact can be achieved when public health and road safety teams tackle shared agendas, such as working together to reduce the speed and volume of motor traffic or introducing road layouts that encourage safe walking and cycling.Sustrans_Safetoschool

And let us not underestimate the benefits of introducing 20mph speed limits in built up areas; lower speeds make crashes less likely and less severe when they do happen and are effective at protecting people, especially children, pedestrians and cyclists from being killed or injured. They also encourage more people to walk and cycle by providing a more pleasant and safer environment.

Councils are responsible for determining where 20mph limits should be introduced and they should take advantage of opportunities to implement them where they are needed. And this is where you come in! As part of the process, councils consult and engage with local communities and other stakeholders to make sure that safer roads are prioritised where needed and that residents have input into the schemes’ development. What are you waiting for? Get involved!

Duncan Vernon, RoSPA’s road safety manager

11 April, 2014

CASE STUDY: Creating a safer highway with the public’s help

How can the public be helped to spend their devolved funds on the best road safety measures?

An example for Bristol:

ZebraIn Bristol, all money for small scale highway improvements are devolved to the public. It works with 14 “neighbourhood partnerships” which discuss local issues at forum meetings.  The public can attend these meetings to express concern and suggest solutions. Highway issues are a common theme at these meetings.  In 2014-15, between £30,000 and £46,000 is allocated to each partnership for highway improvements.

The majority of highway concerns raised relate directly to road safety.

However, internally at Bristol City Council (BCC), there were concerns that the traffic schemes chosen by communities to address safety concerns were not always the most effective.  For some issues highlighted by partnerships, the chosen remedy has not been the most effective according to robust research.refuge_island_l2

Adrian Davis and I are public health academics and we started a project to help neighbourhoods address safety concerns on Bristol’s highways using the most effective measures. This involved finding peer reviewed and case study evidence for particular road safety measures, and assessing if the research was robust enough to include as evidence.

This information was then prepared for members of the public. It was summarised into easy-to-digest information for each remedy, and was written with no jargon, and avoiding an overbearing tone.  A brief description accompanies each traffic safety measure, with advantages, disadvantages, and most importantly, how effective the measure is at increasing safety.

For the widest possible reach, the information has been published on the Traffic Choices website www.trafficchoices.co.uk. The site groups highway safety measures into two main “problem” areas: crossing the road and preventing speeding.  By browsing these groups, it’s now much easier for Bristol residents to get a good idea of what highway schemes are available, and which one might work best on their road.  Each scheme is accompanied by a rough price estimate, so residents can establish what their partnership budget might afford.

DIY_street_l1To help improve engagement, and make the information more accessible, three videos have been produced, creating a more concise summary of the most popular safety measures.  One video was made for crossing, another speeding, and a final video to explain the neighbourhood partnership process in Bristol.  With “real-world” on-screen moving examples from Bristol, the videos provide a commentary on safety effects for each of the chosen safety measures and help to draw in viewers to use the site. The videos have been one of the most popular aspects of the project.

During the coming year, the website will be expanded with evidence on more safety measures requested by the public. It will also include a “live” tracker of issues currently logged by BCC, and will display the progress of any traffic schemes in development to help address these issues.

View the traffic schemes on Traffic Choices.

James Coleman, Bristol City Council 

17 January, 2014

Watch your blind spot! It’s time for team work

Whether you’re a cyclist or a lorry driver, when it comes to the rules of the road, with a little bit of teamwork, both parties can learn to exist safely alongside each other.

A warning sign has been fitted to the rear nearside corner of all CEMEX haulage vehicles, alerting cyclists to the danger of passing along the inside of the vehicle.

A warning sign has been fitted to the rear nearside corner of all CEMEX haulage vehicles, alerting cyclists to the danger of passing along the inside of the vehicle.

The grind of the daily commute is enough to make anyone retreat into their own headspace when stuck in a traffic jam or negotiating a tricky manoeuvre, but it is in these moments when accidents can and do happen.

Recently, we have witnessed a rise in the number of cyclists killed or injured on our roads, particularly in London, where six cyclists lost their lives in a two-week period. Statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) showed a 10 per cent rise in the number of cyclists killed on Great Britain’s roads, with 118 dying in 2012. The number of child cyclists killed doubled to 13 and the number of seriously injured cyclists rose to 3,222.

So what can be done? Well, it seems wise to follow the lead of the Metropolitan Police Service which has teamed up with insurance group RSA to encourage lorry drivers and cyclists to view the hazards of the road from each other’s point of view. The “Exchanging Places” video aims to enforce the law and provide essential road safety advice for both parties on correct cycling, driving and pedestrian behaviour to help avoid collisions and in severe cases, loss of life.

Here’s the challenge: how to enjoy the health and environmental benefits of cycling without resulting in injury or death. In quite a few cases, cyclists have lost their lives or have been seriously injured in collisions with HGVs, especially when the vehicle is turning left at junctions.

A variety of initiatives are underway to address this issue.

On its vehicles, for example, CEMEX is using additional mirrors, warning signs, cameras and sensors that trigger audible warnings when a cyclist passes on the nearside while the left indicator is on. The firm also gives cyclists the chance to get into the cab of a large vehicle to see the road from the driver’s perspective, and cyclist safety is covered in its driver training. In November, it hosted a roundtable discussion on how LGVs might be made safer for cyclists, attended by representatives from the road safety, cycling and construction communities.

A raft of cycle safety measures aimed at HGVs have been announced for London by the DfT and Transport for London (TfL). Under national legislation, most HGVs are required to be fitted with safety equipment such as side guards or low skirts that protect cyclists and other vulnerable road users from being dragged underneath the vehicle in a collision.

Here at RoSPA, we would also like to see safety devices including side guards, proximity sensors and visual aids to be included for all new tippers and skip lorries. And cyclists have their part to play too: try to position yourself where lorry drivers can see you i.e. avoid travelling down the inside of the vehicle at traffic lights, and wear hi-vis clothing. The Highway Code’s rules for cyclists says to wear a cycle helmet and light-coloured or fluorescent clothing in the daylight and poor light, and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark. By law, cycles must have front and rear lights switched on in the dark and be fitted with reflectors.

Just how vital is it then to create a coherent safe network for cyclists? Answer: very. As the popularity of cycling increases, more and more people will be taking to the streets, which is why we need to redouble our efforts to ensure everyone stays safe. This is where the introduction of appropriate cycle lanes and tracks, linking quieter streets, and developing routes alongside rivers, canals and through parks (where possible) can all play a part. Such networks can be created by building dedicated cycle tracks alongside roads – this has been crucial for safer cycling in countries such as The Netherlands.

The introduction of more 20mph schemes in our towns and cities are also a good move and are proven to significantly reduce casualties. Where cyclists and vehicles cannot be separated, the setting up of segregated, marked cycle lanes are advised, but they must help cyclists safely negotiate junctions – usually the highest risk points on the road. It’s not enough to have cycle lanes along the road that simply disappear at a junction and then re-start on the other side of it. Along with boosting the provision of cyclist training, drivers should also be reminded to keep their speed down, watch out for cyclists (make eye contact) and give them enough room on the road. And cyclists should ride in a responsible and considerate manner, making sure they follow the rules of the road, just as motorists are expected to do. No-one is blameless here; both parties have a key role to play in helping to reduce accidents and casualties on our roads.

Finally, don’t succumb to the myth of thinking you’re a perfect driver! We should all refresh our skills regularly, and an easy way to do this is to join one of RoSPA’s local Advanced Drivers groups – see www.roadar.org.uk for details.

And if you’re going to be in the Birmingham area on February 25, why not join RoSPA at its 2014 Road Safety Conference? It will consider how to make roads, behaviours and environments safer for the increasing numbers of cyclists. A full programme is available to view here: www.rospa.com/events/roadsafetyconference/.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety

22 July, 2013

Girlguiding – learning skills for life

My name is Rebekah Pior. I am 14 years old and I live in Birmingham. I joined Weoley Castle Girlguiding when I was 11 years old and throughout my time being there, it has taught me valuable and important skills to keep me safe and make me realise how many risks were actually in your every day normal life.

Girl Guides RoSPA

“Girl Guides helped teach me all about health and safety” – Rebekah Pior

Many of the girls at Guides didn’t have much self motivation, so as something to work towards, the Guide leaders provided a prize at the end of every task, however every task we completed didn’t just gain us a prize and a badge at the end of it, it gave us knowledge and allowed us to take responsibility for our own actions.

Our course was called “Learning for Life” and it included a series of first aid sessions and how to handle water safety and road safety. At the end of the term, when we had completed all of the set tasks, we had to do a presentation to prove that we had learnt and understood everything which our parents were invited to come and sit in on.Girl Guides RoSPA

I’m really glad that I joined Girl Guides when I did, because not long after we had learnt about all of this health and safety, a horrible event occurred including a friend being knocked over by a car. Having learnt about road safety at Guides I knew exactly how to act and how to feel when it was all happening, whereas the rest of my friends just panicked. I took control of the situation and managed to make sure my friend was taken to hospital. The facts and figures I learned at Guides about this convinced me to be careful, however being in that situation made me realise how serious and dangerous the road can be.

Girl Guides RoSPAIn my opinion, more should be done to help protect young people and keep them safe. Schools should take more of a role to try and help students, and Girlguiding units should advertise themselves more so more people know where they are and what they do etc. Sitting teenagers down and talking to them for an hour straight on how to keep safe, what they should do, why they should do it and showing them a couple of statistics isn’t going to make half of them listen, but getting them more involved and making the activities fun will advise more people to listen and get involved.

Rebekah Pior, work experience placement student at RoSPA

15 March, 2013

David Coulthard advert is latest road safety campaign to race ahead on social media

Former Formula 1 racing driver David Coulthard is putting the hazards of country roads in pole position by fronting a new awareness campaign in Scotland.

You may have seen David in the informative and thought-provoking television advert circulating online or, in Scotland, during the half-time commercial break of the Manchester United v Real Madrid UEFA Champions League clash at the beginning of March. If not, you can watch the Country Roads: Don’t Risk It campaign video here:

It’s already received a lot of positive feedback and the message is clearly getting out there thanks also to support from promotions on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, along with a cinema game. In fact, the advert reached at least 250,000 David Coulthard fans alone within hours of its launch when the Scottish driver tweeted it – emphasising the impact that social media can make on reaching a wider audience.

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard fronts the new Country Roads safety campaign.

Former Formula 1 driver David Coulthard fronts the new Country Roads safety campaign.

 But what most people don’t realise is the hard work and planning that goes on behind the scenes for a major road safety project like this.

Road Safety Scotland (RSS), which is part of the Scottish Government, has a publicity sub-committee, which regularly meets to discuss campaigns and which resources to use. As a road safety officer, I have had the privilege of representing the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Scotland on that committee for a number of years, and was involved with this latest Country Roads campaign.

It has been a pleasure to be a member of the committee at the inception of this advert last autumn, but staying quiet about which celebrity was involved has been quite a challenge, particularly when interrogated by my colleagues! David Coulthard is from a rural part of south west Scotland and was very keen to support this campaign.

KathleenBraidwood2

Kathleen Braidwood, RoSPA Scotland’s road safety officer

Seven out of ten road fatalities in Scotland occur on country roads (three quarters of these are men and a third are drivers aged 17 to 25), and there are over 1,000 deaths and serious injuries a year. So, it was decided that the emphasis of this promotion would be on inappropriate speed for the conditions and primarily aimed at men aged between 22 and 40.

My colleagues on the committee – representatives from groups such as IRSO, the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), along with nominated road safety officers from across Scotland – benefit tremendously from the expertise of The Scottish Government’s strategic marketing unit. This unit carried out extensive research on potential scripts and even the value of using David Coulthard, finding out that the target audience would be more receptive to the key message coming from the legendary racing driver as he was seen as a mentor, credible and trustworthy. It is a tremendously creative advert and has been really well researched, using David Coulthard to show rather than tell the audience how to drive.

car_crash2

At this year’s RoSPA’s Road Safety Seminar in Birmingham, Katherine Goodwin, senior strategic marketing manager on the Country Roads project, provided further insight into the campaign and the associated use of social media.

Katherine highlighted how shock tactics and graphics don’t work anymore, adding that people were more likely to change their driving behaviour if they came to a conclusion by themselves in a “lightbulb moment”.

An extensive social marketing media plan was drawn up under the “Don’t Risk It” banner, and included extra features such as behind-the-scenes footage with David Coulthard and his top driving tips. Meanwhile on Twitter, the hashtag #dontriskit was set up and 200 opinion leaders and bodies were targeted to help spread news of the campaign.

Katherine explained that RSS had been at the forefront of using social marketing to promote road safety messages, particularly when trying to inform the hard-to-reach audience of men aged 17 to 21.

A previous campaign to highlight the danger of being distracted by a mobile phone while driving saw Scotland’s first live cinema advertisement come to fruition in 2012 for YouTube, which you can view below:

This hard-hitting video resulted in over 30,000 views and over 2,000 Facebook likes. As a result, Katherine said surveys showed that 82 per cent of people were motivated to change their behaviour and an estimated 36 accidents were prevented, saving over £5million.

Child car seat manufacturer Britax, which sponsored last week’s RoSPA Road Safety Seminar, has also used social media to educate parents. During the seminar, Britax’s technical support manager Mark Bennett said research showed mothers were spending 35 per cent more time online than the general population and were becoming ever more reliant on social media. In light of that, Britax is using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and bloggers (nicknamed mumbassadors) to communicate with parents.

In 2009, Britax ensured all its seats used harness technologies, similar to that used by rally drivers, to securely hold a child in their seat instead of a shield system. The company has been keen to promote harness technology and the difference it makes, and social media has been a useful outlet for this purpose. Bosses even invested recently in doodle and animation experts to develop a new Five Point Harness video for YouTube, which you can watch here:

It was obvious from many of the speeches at this year’s seminar that social media and social marketing are important communication tools as part of wider public relations campaigns. Delegates were even tweeting throughout the day.

Some of the tweets included:

Peter Cleary ‏@PeteCleary @RoSPA thanks for a superb, thought provoking and informative conference today on a wide range of road safety issues. Most helpful.

Business concept - mobile phone over laptop keyboard

Matt Staton ‏@StatonMatt Very interesting overview of social media by Alex Talbot at @RoSPA conference – love the sliding scale of engagement diagram 

Michael Bishop ‏@MishBop Lots of my interests in one RT – “@RoSPA #RoadSafety role of #socialmedia in making roads safer http://bit.ly/16aEj3o ” @MDrivingTips

Matt Staton ‏@StatonMatt “@therealdcf1: Scottish road safety advert;  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnzWp1BM8k0&feature=youtu.be …” just been shown this at @RoSPA #rospaconference 🙂 – great message 🙂

Social media consultant Alex Talbott, from attdigital, offered enlightening advice to delegates  warning that social media was a powerful tool, but only “one tool in your armoury” that takes a lot of time to get right. He also urged road safety experts not to fall into the trap of thinking social media was “a young person’s game” that only spoke to young people.

Importantly, Alex pointed out that with most libel cases in the UK now arising from Twitter, as a general rule, “if you wouldn’t say something in the canteen at work, don’t say it on social media”, but if in doubt, read up further information on the topic, such as the BBC Guide to Twitter and the Law.

Kathleen Braidwood, RoSPA road safety officer for Scotland.

10 December, 2012

Students harness the power of media to highlight anti-drink-drive messages

Road Safety Wales is proud to unveil this year’s winners of the fifth All Wales Multimedia Anti Drink Drive Competition which challenges schools, colleges and youth groups to devise, perform and record a multimedia presentation with an anti-drink-drive message in time for Christmas.

The competition, which was launched in September 2012, saw groups of 11-25 year olds invited to use a variety of genre – film, music, PowerPoint, poetry and animation – in order to convey a thought provoking three-minute film. For their considerable efforts, four regional winners have been selected by the judges to receive a prize of £500 for their school or college.

The North Wales winner is Yale College, Wrexham. Students from the college have entered the annual competition since its inception five years ago. The college media department submit entries of the highest quality and this year is no exception: “Where’s Nan?” shows the effects of the loss of a well-loved family member has on those left behind.

Adam Thomas, of Pembrokeshire College, has created an animation titled “Nightclub”. His winning entry for the Dyfed Powys region highlights how easily one drink can lead to another, with serious and possibly catastrophic results for all. The advice to take a bus, taxi or walk home from a night out is timely and sensible.

“Results Day” is the South Wales winning entry from Bridgend College. The film addresses the issues of young people drinking at home before they have even started their night out.   The students who produced the film rightly point out that the consequences of drinking and driving can affect your whole life, but with a little thought, serious injury and/or death can be avoided.

The winning entry for Gwent comes from Coleg Gwent, Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, in Ebbw Vale. This is the first time that the media department has submitted an entry to the competition, but we are sure that it will not be the last. “SatNav” takes a humorous, yet serious, look at the perils of drinking and driving.

Also highly commended this year, is the entry from Coleg Menai, Llangefni, Anglesey. This film graphically illustrates the turmoil that can haunt a person who has been irresponsible enough to get behind the wheel whilst impaired by drink or drugs.

A big thank you goes out to all those who contributed to the competition and to the local authority road safety officers and other partners who promoted the competition throughout Wales. A great deal of thought and research goes into the making of these entries and the young people involved are to be applauded for their efforts and talents in creating their excellent films.

Road Safety Wales feels that the hard work and ingenuity deserves a much wider audience, so each film has been uploaded to RoSPATube in the run up to Christmas.

Teenagers interested in learning more about safety on the road, at leisure, in the home or in the workplace should visit www.facebook.com/rospayouthnetwork.

Ann Horton, RoSPA Wales’ road safety officer

2 February, 2012

“Never was so much denied by so few to so many…”

I think it was James Madison – a Founding Father of the United States – who first warned about the “tyranny of the minority”.

But was anybody listening back then in 17blah-de-blah?

Though a lot has changed since our ancestors – those worthy pilgrims and prospectors – set sail for the “land of coke and burgers”…much still stays the same.

James Madison Daylight Saving Bill

James Madison is not amused!

The democracy of Madison’s age was founded on “certain unalienable rights” such as, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – ahem, slavery and universal suffrage aside.

So, it is a touch discombobulating that several hundreds of years later a few elected representatives can still shuffle into the Palace of Westminster – arguably the world’s oldest and most respected organ of democracy – and easily and legitimately deny the will of the many.

On Friday, January 20, 2012, Rebecca Harris MP’s Daylight Saving Bill was effectively killed by a small band of MPs who, without any apparent pangs of conscience, decided to “talk it out of the House”.

They did this despite widespread popular support, the backing of the Government, and scores of MPs.

The Bill simply requested that the Government take a fresh look at how a switch to Single/Double Summer Time (GMT+1 in winter / GMT+2 in summer) would affect the UK.

If the evidence had proved compelling – and was accepted by all UK governments – it could have triggered a trial. No more, no less.

To put the perversion of these Parliamentary antics into some sort of perspective, here are a few stats to consider (courtesy of 10:10’s Lighter Later):

sunset Daylight Saving Bill

It is important that we do not allow the "sun to set" on RoSPA's Lighter Evenings campaign.

  •  Of 160 MPs present on January 20, 70 per cent of all words spoken were from 10 MPs
  • The same 10 MPs consistently voted to extend the debate
  • 146 MPs consistently voted to progress the debate
  • 25 per cent of all words (nearly an hour of talking) were delivered by one man, Christopher Chope (the Conservative MP for Christchurch), who consistently voted to extend the debate.

RoSPA has been campaigning for lighter evenings for decades. All the evidence suggests that an extra hour of evening daylight across the year would make the UK’s road users significantly safer. Figures cited by the Department for Transport show that by adopting SDST, about 80 deaths and at least 200 serious injuries would be prevented on our roads each year.

Despite this setback, we’re still hoping against hope. At the time of writing, there’s still a chance that Business Minister Ed Davey might commission his own review of the proposal.

Alternatively, we could try to get another Private Members’ Bill tabled at the start of the next session of Parliament in May.

Whatever the next step, we would like to thank RoSPA’s many thousands of campaign supporters who helped take this Bill to the brink of victory. It’s the closest we’d got since 1970.

For more information, and to register support for RoSPA’s campaign, visit www.rospa.com/lighterevenings/.

Michael Corley, RoSPA’s campaigns manager

17 January, 2012

Help us to champion the case for lighter evenings

Time is running out – it’s official. On Friday, January 20, MPs will vote in the House of Commons on whether to back the Daylight Saving Bill. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents believes that a “yes” vote could bring benefits to all. So what are we waiting for?

clock ticking down the minutes Daylight Saving Bill

The clock is ticking on the Daylight Saving Bill

A move to Single/Double Summer Time (GMT+1 in winter / GMT+2 in summer) would certainly be a good place to start in helping to make the UK’s road users significantly safer. Extra evening daylight protects vulnerable road users like children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists, by making them more visible to motorists. And at the end of the working day, motorists’ concentration levels are often a lot lower, so a bit more afternoon/early evening light – especially in the winter – would help to lower the risk of an accident. It is therefore credible to suggest that any increase in casualties in the morning during the winter months would be outweighed by the reduction in casualties in the evenings – thanks to an hour of extra daylight.

Friday marks the third reading of the Bill, which passed its second reading in December 2010 with a huge majority. This feat means the push for lighter evenings is closer to succeeding now than at any time since 1970 – and our recent online opinion poll showed that 92 per cent of respondents supported the call for lighter evenings. The most recent research carried out by the Department for Transport showed that a move to SDST could reduce road deaths by around 80 per year and serious injuries by around 200 per year. There are also a host of other benefits to be had as a result of the proposed changes, with independent studies showing that a move to SDST would:

  • Cut CO2 emissions by 447,000 tonnes a year by reducing the need for electric lighting in the evenings
  • Provide a £3.5bn boost to British leisure and tourism, creating up to 80,000 new jobs in the sector
  • Reduce levels of obesity by allowing for more outdoor sport in the evenings
  • Relieve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and similar conditions
  • Reduce crime and the fear of crime (especially among the elderly).

    Sunset over House of Commons Daylight Saving Bill

    The all important vote will take place in the House of Commons on January 20, 2012.

This whole debate begs the question: What would you do with an extra hour of evening daylight? You could kick-start that exercise regime, go cycling, open up your business for longer, enjoy a family moment, mow the grass – and that’s just for starters. It is also worth mentioning, that at this stage, RoSPA is calling for more evidence for giving the UK its extra hour of evening daylight. The world has changed a great deal since the last experiment, which ran from 1968-71, when British Standard Time (GMT + 1) was employed all year round. Now it’s time to gain a fresh perspective for the 21st century. Tourism chiefs in the Lake District are the latest to champion the Bill which they say will boost business, allowing attractions to stay open for longer and providing an opportunity to extend the tourism season. It’s a win-win!

So, over to you MPs – the ball is in your court. The nation is talking (and debating) on this matter. Is it not time to take a leap into the light? Whatever your view may be, here are a few thoughts and feelings from staff and students at the University of Birmingham to get you thinking:

 

To find out more and register support for RoSPA’s campaign, visit www.rospa.com/lighterevenings/

Charlotte Hester, RoSPA’s press officer/web editor

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