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Following the first increase in road casualties of all severities since 1997, the road safety charity Brake is urging the government to take action and show strong leadership over the issue.
The number killed or injured on UK roads rose by 6% in 2014 to 194,477, and Brake believes that the axing of ambitious casualty reduction targets in 2010 could be to blame.
“The government must take the bull by the horns on this, and it can start by reintroducing ambitious casualty reduction targets, with an ultimate aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads to zero. Every road death causes unimaginable human suffering, and every road death is preventable," said Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake.
“Britain claims to have some of the safest roads in the world, but that just isn’t true if you are one of the many people who want to get around on foot or bike. Pedestrians and cyclists are picking up the tab for the government’s failure of ambition – a 20mph default urban speed limit is a key step to rectifying this.”
Statistics released by the Department for Transport have shown that the number of people killed rose 4% to 1,775 and that the number of people seriously injured was up to 22,807 – an increase of 5%.
“We should be under no illusion as to the seriousness of these figures.”
Ed Morrow, Brake
The annual figures also show that it is pedestrians and cyclists who have been most affected by the rise in casualties, with pedestrian deaths increasing by 12% to 446 and serious injuries to cyclists rising by 8% to 3,401. The increase in bicycle casualties follows an upward trend that has been ongoing since 2004.
“We should be under no illusion as to the seriousness of these figures. Hand-wringing about statistical significance aside, the reversal of a downward casualty trend that has been ongoing for 17 years does not happen by chance. What is absolutely crystal clear is that things are not getting better, and that simply isn’t good enough,” said Mr Morrow.
Click here to find out more about the Go20 coalition which campaigns for a 20mph speed limit in residential areas, with the aim of making communities safer and reducing road casualties.
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