The charity IAM has said that the government his cutting the road safety campaigning budget too far and too fast, after figures revealed that spending on such initiatives has been slashed by nealry 80 per cent since 2008/09.
During 2012/13, the government is planning to spend a total of just £3.57 million on such initiatives, compared to £19 million five years earlier. In 2011/12, some £4 million was allocated to road safety.
Of the current year’s spend, just £53,000 has been spent on cycle safety campaigns, with the main focus being efforts against drink-driving, with expenditure standing at £1.689 million, and initiatives related motorcycle safety, at £1.275 million.
Those also dwarfed the amount being spent on £78,000 on campaigns aimed at safeguarding children on the road.
The spend during the current year on reinforcing the anti-drink drive message is roughly equivalent to the economic cost of just one life lost on the road, which IAM notes is £1.7 million.
It says that the cumulative cost of fatal incidents on the road during 2011 was £3.2 billion, which is a little under a thousand times the money being spent on road safety campaigns in the current year.
IAM director of policy Neil Greig commented: “Right across the public sector road safety is being cut too hard and too quickly, despite the huge returns on investment.
“One life saved, saves the economy £1.7 million. £53,000 is a derisory amount to spend on national cycle safety campaigns.
“Until we have the right roads infrastructure in place, publicity and education campaigns are one of the few tools we have to help us save cyclists’ lives.
“£78,000 for children’s safety campaigns is virtually insignificant.
“If the government is serious about safety for these groups, these amounts must be increased. “
“The successful drink driving and biker campaigns have raised awareness of these issues and they both appear to be working.
“The government needs to match that kind of expenditure and take the safety of children and cyclists seriously.”
Shortly after the Coalition Government came to power in May 2010, the incoming Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond declared on his first day in office that “Labour's 13-year war on the motorist is over.”
He immediately slashed the road safety grant by 40 per cent from £95 million to £57 million, and scrapped government funding for new speed cameras, a decision criticised by opposition politicians, road safety campaigners and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
In 2011, the latest full year for which figures are available and reflecting the first full calendar year of the current government’s term, 1,901 people lost their lives on Britain’s roads, a 3 per cent increase on the previous 12 months and the first increase in eight years.
Simon joined road.cc 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.