Every 24 seconds, someone around the world is killed on the road; that’s 1.3 million people every year.
This Road Safety Week, we’ve been talking about simple steps everyone can take to stop thousands of needless deaths and injuries happening year-round. This year’s theme is ‘Step up for Safe Streets’, in which we learn about and celebrate the design-led solutions that allow us all to get around in a safe and healthy way.
We want to make sure our roads are safe for all users, no matter what mode of transport is used. Safety is at the top of our priority list and so we’re constantly making changes and improvements to our city road network to make it the best it can be. We recently turned Beck Street South into a bus-only lane; while this decision gained a lot of media attention, there’s a very valid reason behind why we did this. There was a real problem with motorists making illegal turns onto this road from Huntington Street, especially during the ‘green man’ pedestrian signal. So we made the decision to prioritise safety and turn this road into a bus-only route so we could enforce this maneuver, put a stop to illegal turns, and keep our citizens safe. Additional signs have been put up at the junction and surrounding areas to warn and educate drivers of the new road layout. By making this change we are able to decrease the likelihood of a serious accident as a result of illegal maneuvers or human error, in turn creating safer journeys.
Not only does Road Safety Week aim to make us safer, but it also hopes to make us healthier too. This autumn new cycle and walking routes have been built across the city to help promote active travel, with plenty more to come. But, making a healthy journey doesn’t just mean walking or cycling, it also means the air we breathe is clean and doesn’t put us at risk for any health defects; air pollution is the number one environmental health risk in the UK. Luckily for those of us living in Nottingham, we were the first city in the UK to have our air quality plan approved, and as a result of city wide measures are no longer under consideration for a clean air zone. Those opting to make a healthy journey do not have to worry that the air they’re breathing will have a detrimental impact on the health goals they are trying to achieve.
As much as we don’t want health to be compromised, we also don’t want to compromise the safety of active journey-goers. This means constantly revising our road networks, building more and making improvements to existing pedestrian and cycle pathways. Some of you may be familiar with or have seen the works we’re doing along Handel Street, but aren’t aware of the safety benefits these works will bring to cyclists and pedestrians. We’re currently halfway through the construction of a shared cycle and pedestrian path that will provide a safe, direct route from Carlton Road to Sneinton Square. Rather than cyclists having to navigate down Carlton Road, a busy carriageway with multiple dangerous junctions to reach the city centre, they can alternatively use Handel Street, which runs parallel but is a lot quieter and safer to use. We have prioritised those who choose to make healthy journeys by creating a safe space for them. In turn, we hope this encourages more people to use these routes rather than using their car.
Beck Street South and Handel Street are just two examples of what we have done in Nottingham to make our roads a safer place for everyone, but that’s not all. With lots of completed projects already under our belt and many more soon to come, we can turn our city into a place of safety, and somewhere everyone can feel confident, no matter how they choose to use the road.
Every death or serious injury that happens on our roads is completely preventable. By stepping up and following a few simple steps, we can all play a part in the creation of a safe and healthy future. If we do our part, will you do yours?