Brake Road Safety Week 2019 takes place from 18-24 November. This year’s message is ‘Step up for Safe Streets’ and it’s an ideal opportunity to promote life-saving messages and show our commitment to road safety. Everyone has the right to safe and healthy journeys. That’s why here in the Influencing Travel Behaviour team, we work hard all year round to encourage safe road user behaviour and promote sustainable travel across Leeds.
You can read about some of our initiatives in this blog, but it’s not just about what we do – everyone plays a part in making the streets around us safer so we’ve also suggested some ways that you can help to keep our roads safe, both during Road Safety Week and all year round.
Some of our initiatives include:
1. Lowering speed limits
Like other areas in the UK, Leeds has been introducing 20mph limits across more of its residential areas. These have been put into place to help reduce road casualties, and to make our communities more pleasant places to live. We need to work together to change attitudes towards speed, so that 20mph is seen as the ‘norm’ within residential areas. 20mph limits are not implemented to inconvenience people, but to reduce speed in built up areas where children and other vulnerable road users could be. It is also hoped that by reducing vehicle speeds and making streets feel safer, people will be more inclined to lead active lifestyles by walking and cycling, especially for local journeys. Reducing noise pollution can also have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of people living in these communities. You can find out more about the Leeds 20mph programme here.
2. Supporting ‘Operation Close Pass’
Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour team carry out work all year round to improve cycle safety, including initiatives to educate drivers and raise awareness of considerate driving around people on two wheels. Much of the focus is on those who unwittingly drive too close, placing them in danger. After all, when you’re on a bike or on foot, you don’t have the protection of a metal cage that you have when in a car.
The close pass initiative, which has been run in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police for the last three years, is based on the highly successful model developed by West Midlands Police. Operations run from late spring until early autumn, and this year, operations have been carried out in the East, North West and South of the city. During the seven operations, 25 drivers were spoken to about overtaking cyclists too closely, and other risky driving behaviours. As a result, drivers are more aware of how to drive safely and considerately around cyclists and other vulnerable road users, and it is hoped that over time this will encourage more people to travel on two wheels.
3. Promoting sustainable travel options to businesses and housing developments
The Influencing Travel Behaviour team can offer advice, activities, events and resources to help you promote messages of safe and sustainable travel. We work with businesses to deliver travel plans to promote sustainable options. You can read more how we do this here:
4. Working with schools to promote sustainable travel
Leeds City Council is working to be a Child Friendly City and the Influencing Travel Behaviour team work with schools and colleges throughout the year. We provide road safety education and promote sustainable travel, and educate about and aim to improve air quality. These activities aim to ensure children and young people can travel safely and sustainably, not only on journeys to school and college but also when they are out and about with friends and family. See below for an overview of the road safety education and training we did with schools during the academic year 2018/19 and sustainable travel initiatives during 2018.
What can you do?
There are plenty of ways you can get involved and make a difference and contribute towards making our roads and the way we travel healthier and safer places to be.
Be aware of the speed limits on the roads you’re driving on. If you’re in a residential area or close to a school, chances are it will be a 20mph limit and even if it’s not, make sure you keep at or below the limit, and drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions.
Look out for and drive carefully and considerately around more vulnerable road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. The recommended space to give a cyclist when overtaking is 1.5 metres (more than a car door). Take extra time to check for cyclists and motorcyclists when turning in and out of junctions and also when opening car doors.
All road users:
Brake Road Safety Week could be time to consider your travel habits and whether you could make any small changes. Could you take public transport more often for your commute, or walk or cycle for shorter journeys? There is a whole range of information available online, but the Sustainable Travel Guide is a good starting point.
If you care for school aged children, could they walk, scoot or cycle to school more often? Not only does this help to develop their road safety skills, it reduces the number of cars at the gates at the beginning and end of the school day. If you can’t do this for the whole journey, why not ‘Park and Stride’? Parking away from the school gates and walking the remainder of the journey will help to keep the air around schools cleaner.
You can register for Road Safety Week 2019 using this online form, and you’ll receive a free digital action pack with lots more advice, ideas and resources linked to the 2019 theme ‘Step up for Safe Streets’.
Use the School Travel Ambassador pack for ideas to promote safe and sustainable travel throughout the year.
You can watch this year’s webinar to hear from companies that have previously taken part in Road Safety Week and get ideas on running successful activities and communication campaigns in your organisation and community.
To find out more about Brake Road Safety Week, visit www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk
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Brake Road Safety Week