Manchester Road Deaths Increase
Road safety group Drivesafe have expressed their concern over an increase in the number of people killed on Greater Manchester’s roads last year in road accidents.
Seventy-six people died in road accidents in the region last year – compared with just 54 the year before.
Road safety chiefs believe the increase, from 54 to 76, is a short-term blip and say the overall number of serious crashes is falling, but road safety groups urged motorists to take more care – and cycling campaigners called for more to be done to protect bike users.
In new figures, obtained by local newspaper The Manchester Evening News, it was revealed that of the fatalities, 29 were pedestrians, 26 were car drivers or passengers, 14 motorbike riders or passengers, 5 victims were cyclists, and 2 had been travelling on buses.
The overall number of injuries caused by road accidents actually fell to 668, a trend continued from the previous year’s drop from 721 to 689.
And 7,171 people suffered some form of injury, compared with 9,303 in 2009.
A spokeswoman from the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership, which runs the DriveSafe campaign, said: “Road user behaviour and attitude is a constant contribution towards collisions. All road users are being encouraged through our campaigns to show greater responsibility for their actions. The overall number of casualties has reduced which is encouraging but the alarming increase of fatal collisions in 2011 is concerning.”
Despite these figures, it should be pointed out that Greater Manchester remains one of Britain’s safest areas. Overall, 29 per 100,000 people are killed or seriously injured on Greater Manchester’s roads every year – compared with 38 in Merseyside, 37 in the West Midlands and 34 in Metropolitan London.
Vincent Walsh, from the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, said more could be done to reduce the risks for cyclists in the region. He said: “We do think cycling is a safe activity and the injuries are low compared to the number of people on the roads. But local authority cuts have meant more potholes which can increase the risks to cyclists.
“We are also urging local authorities to support a ‘20 is plenty’ campaign to reduce the speed limit in residential areas of Greater Manchester.”
He has the support of Olympic-champion and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins who called for new laws forcing cyclists to wear a helmet after a fatal crash near the Olympic Park.
And all this before the expected boom in cycling following Bradley’s efforts in France and the many cycling successes at the London 2012 Olympics.
Manchester is actually aspiring to be the number one city in the UK for cycling following the revelation that 20,000 people want to cycle but don’t.
Now, for drivers that isn’t good news.
Admittedly they don’t make it easy for themselves by speeding, driving without care and attention or concern for other road users, and using mobile phones and other technology in the car, but 20,000 extra people on the road not wearing helmets, hi-visibility jackets or other safety gear will cause a problem – not to mention two-wheeled terrorists on the roads without proper training.
Terrorists? Sounds a bit harsh, but by this I mean that, although car drivers have a lot to learn about cyclists on the road and have to learn to “Think Bike,” cyclists do not own the roads – or the pavements. They also have road rules to observe and keep to, and it raises the question of whether cyclists should pass a test before getting on the road. Car drivers have to, Motorbike riders have to: why not them.
And yes, Mr Cyclist who drives through red lights as if they are not there along the A6 through Stockport, I am talking to you!