There are 25 national organisations in the Safer Streets Coalition. The group letter to the transport secretary calls for measures to force motorists to drive more responsibly. Improved road safety is just as necessary as measures to fight crime and anti-social behaviour, the Coalition says.
Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Manager said: "We all stand to gain from the health, social and environmental benefits of encouraging more cycle use. Yet too many people are put off cycling by the fear of traffic. Cycle lanes can help but do not address the speed and dominance of motor vehicles. These are the key issues that must be tackled if we want to see more people cycling more often."
Speeding and speeds too high for the situation or conditions, are a major factor in the deaths of at least 1100 people on British roads every year.
Safety fears also force thousands more people off their bikes which means that the health benefits of regular exercise, which for many could be part of the daily routine, are lost, significantly contributing to increased heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Geffen said: "It is time for the government to accept that responsibility for the safety of others will have to be forced on drivers who intimidate, maim and kill."
Here’s the letter:
Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DR
Wednesday 5 February 2003
Dear Mr Darling,
We represent millions of people from around the country: young and old,
able-bodied and people with disabilities, from both urban and rural
We have become increasingly concerned about the impact of traffic – and
particularly people driving too fast – on our quality of life. Speed is
a critical factor in road crashes: over 1100 people die every year in
road crashes in which speed is a major factor. Many more thousands are
seriously injured as a result of excessive speeds.
People who drive too fast also intimidate other people on our streets,
reduce people’s freedom to enjoy walking and cycling (beneficial to both
our health and the environment) and blight both towns and villages
through noise, air pollution and community severance.
As the Safer Streets Coalition, we call on the Government to take more
action to deal with this issue. We urge the Government to move quickly
to review speed limits across the country, and in particular to deliver
a 30mph limit for every village and make much wider use of 20mph limits
in residential areas and on main shopping streets. We would like to see
better enforcement of speed limits through more speed cameras, more
resources for traffic police and stricter traffic law enforcement. And
we would like to see substantially more funding for well designed
traffic calming, traffic reduction schemes and other improvements that
take into account the needs of all road users.
Above all though, we ask for leadership from the Government on this
issue. With all the Government focus on the need to clamp down on
anti-social behaviour and the need to be tough on crime, it would surely
be hypocritical not to demand more responsible behaviour from car
drivers. After all, 3450 people died on British roads last year.
Government needs to convey this message and ensure that the matter gets
the priority that it should in terms of policy, funding initiatives and
awareness campaigns. As legislation to make our railways as safe as
possible is debated in the House of Commons, the Government should
strive for a similar attitude to be applied to safety on our roads.
We look forward to working with Ministers to rectify this situation and
to make our streets safer for all of us.
Martin Bacon – Chief Executive, Civic Trust
Tom Bogdanowicz – Campaigns Manager, London Cycling Campaign
Paul Cann – Director of Policy, Research and International Development,
Help the Aged
Helen Carey – National Chairman, National Federation of Women’s
Brigitte Chaudhry – Director, RoadPeace
Kevin Clinton – Road Safety Adviser, ROSPA
Issy Cole-Hamilton – Acting Director, Children’s Play Council
Tom Foulkes – Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers
Tom Franklin – Director, Living Streets
Roger Geffen – Campaigns and Policy Manager, CTC (the national cyclists’
Robert Gifford – Director, Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport
Matt Grainger – Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
John Grimshaw – Director, Sustrans
Mike Hayes – Deputy Director, Child Accident Prevention Trust
Stephen Joseph – Director, Transport 2000
Tony Juniper – Executive Director, Friends of the Earth
Brian Lamb – Director of Communications, RNID
Paul Lincoln – Chief Executive, National Heart Forum
Gordon Lishman – Director-General, Age Concern
Paige Mitchell – Co-ordinator, Slower Speeds Initiative
Kate Parminter – Chief Executive, Campaign for the Protection of Rural
Ian Roberts – Professor of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and
Nicholas Russell – Transport Policy Officer, RNIB
Carol Thomas – JMU Access Partnership and the Joint Committee on
Mobility of Blind and Partially Sighted People
Mark Whitby – Director, Whitby Bird and Partners Engineers