John Stewart (who is a key campaigner for the Stop Heathrow’s 3rd runway campaign) became RoadPeace Chair in late 1996. He has written a thought piece.  He’s a fantastic campaigner, and now an advisor – his input is immensely valuable to RoadPeace.  Many thanks John for writing this piece.

 

Road Safety Scotland tweeted: Our roads may be busier than we’ve been used to over the past few months. Take extra care if you are walking or cycling near traffic. #DriveSmart

 

The response from a young man in Glasgow:  Correction: “If you are driving, please drive with due care and attention around those walking, wheeling, & cycling.” See

@RoadSafetyScot, it wasn’t that hard!

 

He’s quite right the onus should be on the driver of the car. It is his or her machine which can kill or injure.

 

That is not say, of course, that pedestrians and cyclists shouldn’t take care. Yesterday I was beside a busy main road in South London, walking at about the same pace as a young boy, maybe aged 10 or 11. At each junction, he stopped and waited for the green man before crossing. I felt obliged to do the same, even though there was no traffic in sight!

 

He was absolutely right. He was taught not to take risks and he didn’t. After a short while, he crossed the main road and went into the Co-op. He was clearly allowed to go to the local shops on his own as long as he obeyed the traffic signals. That is as it should be.

 

But the young man tweeting from Glasgow is also correct. In fact, he could have gone further. There is less being done to stop motorists breaking the law than there was a decade ago. Over the last 10 years or so the number of traffic police has fallen by a third. Offences are going undetected and unreported.

 

For example, figures obtained by Auto Express revealed that between 2011 and 2016 the number of drivers cited for careless or dangerous driving has fallen from 276,000 in 2011 to 179,000 in 2016, and roadside breath tests dropped by 21 per cent from 2012, when there were 661,778 tests conducted, to 521,349 in 2015.

 

It is not surprising that deaths and serious injuries caused by individuals driving unlawfully increased by 64% over the 10 years between 2007 and 2017.

 

In the light of this, surely the main twitter messages of Road Safety Scotland and their equivalents in other parts of the UK should be directed at their Governments to cut danger on the roads and to motorists to obey the law.