The number of fatalities occurring on the roads in the UK has increased by 13%, sounding out alarm bells for motoring and cycling groups.
Overall, there have been 380 deaths on the roads in the first three months of 2014, 44 more than in the same period last year. There has also been a hike in the number of smaller injuries occurring, which are up 15% on last years total.
All of this means that in the first period of this year, Britain’s roads have seen a dramatic 16% increase in casualties, which has called into question whether or not the Government are doing enough to ensure that our roads are safe.
Despite these revelations however, the Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill, has remained defiant over the concerns being raised and has preferred to take more of a long term perspective on things by commending the increase in safety seen on British roads over the past 9 years.
He said: “Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world, and the number of deaths last year was the lowest since records began in 1926. Road deaths are now down nearly 40% on the average for 2005 to 2009. However, one road death is one too many, which is why we continue to tackle dangerous driving and make our roads safer for everyone.”
Meanwhile the Campaigns Manager for British Cycling has expressed his desire to ensure more is done to further improve road safety for cyclists, after seeing the number of casualties involving people on bikes go up by 27%.
Martin Key said: “While cycling is statistically safer than walking, we know that much more could be done to make Britain’s roads accommodating for people on bikes. The fact is that our roads are not designed with cycling in mind and these latest road casualty figures are a reflection of that.”
“Without adequate and sustained funding for cycling of at least £10 per head, coupled with real political leadership and national targets, Britain will continue to fall short of great cycling countries like Holland, Germany and Denmark.”
It would seem that most are keen to put the increase in casualties on the road down to the harsh winter weather conditions, which were by far the worst we have seen in the UK for many a year.
But this theory has already been questioned by the RAC, whose technical director, David Bizley, pointed out that the weather wasn’t as significant as many think.
He explained: “While the weather must have had an impact on the lower road casualty figures for the first quarter of 2013, the Department of Transport’s own recently-released traffic volume data for 2014 only shows a 4.1% year-on-year increase.”
“In the absence of a larger difference in lower volume statistics, which you would, of course, except if fewer vehicles had been on the road in early 2013, other factors must have contributed to the 16% rise in road casualties. It is therefore important that the root cause is understood and acted upon in order to improve road safety for all and reduce the overall number of casualties going forwards.”
The breakdown in terms of figures for this year’s first quarter shows that the number of pedestrians injured on Britain’s roads has increased by 16% (1,460), cyclists, as mentioned before, 27% (690), slight injuries by 43% (3830), motorcyclists by 20% (950), Car users by 15% (2,160), Children (under 16) by 17% (500) and child pedestrian casualties by 9% (350)
It is now hoped that the Government will take a proactive response to reduce these figures once more, by introducing some policies that will benefit all road users moving forward by improving safety standards.
The bleaker outlook is that the Government may do nothing based on the notion that these figures represent a temporary spike and Britain will edge closer to a return to the dark days of 10 years ago.
If you have suffered an injury as the result of an accident on the road, then we may be able to help you claim compensation to aid your recovery. You can speak to one of our advisors today by calling 0800 61 43 61 or by filling out our contact form.