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Monday 18 November 2013

Emily Brothers - selected recently as Labour’s local Parliamentary Candidate - is supporting national Road Safety Week, 18-24 November, by calling on the Government and people in Sutton and Cheam to ‘tune into road safety’.

Government figures released in November showed that the number of motorcycling and cycling casualties on our roads has risen in comparison to the same period in 2012. Cyclist casualties rose 12%, while motor cyclist casualties were up 4%. Five cyclists have died on London’s streets in the last few weeks, bringing the total to 13 this year. Ms Brothers said that:
“A rapid review is needed to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians across the capital.”
“I am alarmed that Boris Johnson is set to apply a 25% cut to funding of traffic calming and road schemes.”

Road Safety Week, coordinated by the road safety charity Brake, is the UK’s leading event to promote safer road use. This year Road Safety Week focuses on preventing tragic collisions caused by driver distraction, such as mobile phone use, and will be supported by a week of increased police enforcement coordinated by the Association of Chief Police Officers. Alongside Brake, Emily Brothers is pressing the Government to focus on road safety and make the issue a national priority. She said:
“Worrying increases in the number of casualties for those on two wheels are a reminder that we can’t take road safety for granted.”
“As part of this week’s Road Safety campaign I am calling on people in Sutton and Cheam to tune into road safety. If a driver is distracted at the wheel they are 2-3 times more likely to crash, potentially causing a serious injury or death.”
“I also want Ministers to put the most vulnerable first and reverse their out of touch decision to axe targets to cut the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”

Richard Burden MP, Labour’s Shadow Roads Minister said:
“Roads are shared spaces and road safety is everyone’s responsibility. But strong leadership by government is absolutely crucial to focus minds and attention on the issue.”
“The Government need to rethink their approach to roads and make sure this shared space is safe for all.”

Emily Brothers, who is the country’s first blind woman to stand for Parliament, knows from her personal experience that getting around areas that have traffic and pedestrians sharing the same space can be very hazardous. Whilst President of the National Federation of the Blind (UK), Emily Brothers led a campaign raising concerns about the implications of shared spaces for herself and other visually impaired people. Emily Brothers explained that:
“Newly designed town centres, such as Sutton, have removed kerbs which blind people rely upon to distinguish between road and pavement. The lack of a demarcation makes many high streets unsafe for children, disabled and elderly people. The emphasis on eye contact from motorists with cyclists and pedestrians means that it is time to ‘tune into road safety’.”

Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes.

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2013 takes place 18-24 November, and focuses on the theme of driver distraction. Brake are appealing to drivers to turn off their phones while driving, and calling on the government to do extend the ban to hands-free phones at the wheel, and increase fines for driver distraction.

Casualties for cyclists and motor cyclists
Figures from April-June 2013 show that the number of casualties for motor cyclists and cyclists increased by 4% and 12% respectively, in comparison to the same period in 2012.
Figures from: Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: Quarterly Provisional Estimates Q2 2013, DfT, November 2013.

Targets for deaths and serious injuries
In Government Labour had set proposed targets for casualty and fatality reduction until 2020, which were abandoned by the Government in the Department for Transport’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety (May 2011).



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