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Serious crashes involving cyclists or pedestrians drop 91 per cent on Britain's 'most improved roads' (+ video)

New report from Road Safety Foundation also reveals country's most dangerous roads...

Measures such as lower speed limits and better junctions and road markings have led to a fall of more than 90 per cent in fatal or serious crashes involving a cyclist or pedestrian on the country’s most improved roads for safety, according to a new report from the Road Safety Foundation (RSF).

The organisation’s latest annual report, How Safe Are You Driving On Britain’s Roads?, says a section of the  A404 from Amersham to Junction 19 of the M25 in Buckinghamshire is the country’s most improved road.

However, a stretch of the A285 running from Chichester to Petworth in West Sussex has been designated the country’s most persistently dangerous one.

The report covers 44,375 kilometres of motorways and primary and non-primary A roads linking towns and cities throughout Britain, although it excludes city centres.

It accounts for 10 per cent of the nation’s road network, but half of all road deaths take place on them.

On the 15 roads – three of them motorways – listed as having “a statistically significant reduction in the number of fatal or serious collisions over time,” the total number of fatal or serious crashes fell from 237 to 52 between the periods 2007-09 and 2010-12, a reduction of 80 per cent.

The number of those incidents in which a cyclist or pedestrian was involved saw an even higher drop – down by 91 per cent from 65 to just six.

The RSF said that the reduction in fatal and serious crashes on those 15 most improved roads resulted in “an economic saving of £25m or £110,000 per kilometre annually.”

Reduced speed limits and improved junctions were among the reasons cited for the reduction, although routine maintenance also played a major role.

“Authorities commonly report that many of the most effective improvements have not, surprisingly, been carried out specifically to improve road safety,” said the RSF's engineering manager, James Bradford.

“Often the pressing need to carry out very basic maintenance has initiated action and the additional safety enhancements were a later addition. Scheduling in this way is extraordinarily cost effective. 90 per
cent of routes listed contained work on resurfacing, signing and marking."

However, the report noted that in terms of the overall road network, “only 3% of road sections analysed this year showed a significant reduction in serious crashes.”

The stretch of the A404 running through the South Downs that tops the list of the most persistently dangerous roads saw an increase of 16 per cent in fatal or serious crashes between the two three-year periods analysed.

The report said that “the route has seen a number of low cost safety measures implemented over time but, because of the significant number of bends on the route, it requires more far reaching intervention in keeping with an area of outstanding natural beauty.”

One of Britain’s most notorious roads, the A537 Cat & Fiddle from Buxton to Macclesfield across the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District, was found to be the 28th most improved road due to reduced speed limits. It remains the most persistently dangerous road in the North West, however.

Particularly popular with motorcyclists, one biker was convicted of dangerous driving earlier this year after he fell 40 feet down an escarpment at the side of the road when he nearly hit a car head on, risking his own life and those of the vehicle’s occupants.

Jack Sanderson, aged 21, escaped unhurt and said he had posted helmetcam footage to YouTube as a warning to others but the video went viral and soon came to the attention of the police.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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girodilento | 9 years ago

A problem with this kind of statistical pronouncement is it doesn't (that I can see) capture changed behaviour. What I mean by this is that if a road is dangerous, then vulnerable users in particular (cyclists/pedestrians) will stop using it and injuries will reduce, which in turn can be interpreted as improvement in road safety on highly dangerous roads. The safest road after all, is one no one uses.

I'm sceptical that the figures are anything like as compelling as we're told, it's far more likely that people will make decisions to use other roads to increase their chances of making it home to their loved ones - especially for cyclists/pedestrians.

As our roads have got more and more hostile, simply look at how many less pedestrians there are on busy roads, let alone cyclists. Think about that next time someone tries to say how much "safety" has improved. It's a con in my opinion.

Accessibility f... | 9 years ago

Interesting thumbnail once you've finished playing that vid.

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