Why no war on road terror?

museum road crash

Within moments of the road traffic collision outside the Natural History Museum this week, which saw many pedestrians injured by a car that careered onto the pavement, the area was crawling with police armed response teams, hazardous material containment personnel and a helicopter was overhead. Within 20 minutes, my iPad started to blink with news reports of the suspected terror attack and it continued for hours. It was not until later that day that the story was downgraded to a run-of-the-mill road ‘accident’. No extended opinion pieces about the threat to the lives of pedestrians on pavements up and down the country from being run down or from deadly pollution. No radio phone-ins about the effect that road danger has on our collective quality of life. And certainly no pronouncements from a transport minister on how immediate action is required to tackle this daily terror.

Why on earth does the media and wider society take so little interest in road danger? It’s not as if it lacks human interest. Over recent weeks, we’ve made mention of recent court cases that have seen drivers who have killed and maimed children on the pavement as young as five walk away with extremely lenient fines. And yet these stories rarely make big news.

If a plane or a train crashes, the story makes headlines and the evening news. If a car ploughs onto a pavement and kills a child, it’s rarely described as a collision and most commonly an ‘accident’. The term accident describes a few drops of tea spilt on one’s trousers – not a ton of metal smashing into a person. The language is important because words are powerful. We turn a Nelsonian eye to the violent deaths and life-changing injuries that occur every single day on our roads.

Has the dynamic of our relationship with our cars become so dysfunctional that we suffer from collective Stockholm syndrome?

Thousands of lives would be saved and our quality of life would be immeasurably improved if we tackled road danger. Surely the time has come for a war on road terror.

Ethical insurance

The ETA has been voted Britain’s most ethical insurance company 2017.

The Good Shopping Guide each year reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly of the world’s companies and brands, with a view to supporting the growth of social responsibility and ethical business as well as a more sustainable, just society.

Beating household-name insurance companies such as John Lewis and the Co-op, we earned an ethical company index score of 89 – earning us joint-first place with Naturesave.

Ethical insurance company 2017

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Twenty seven years on, we continue to offer cycle insurancetravel insurance and breakdown cover  while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.


  1. David


    Excellent article, thank you. I’d like to see it on big billboards all around the country. Except that would probably be an unwarranted distraction to motorists, especially if there happened to be a schoolteacher standing in the way….

  2. Martin Bishop


    The TFL Report: “Collisions and casualties on London’s roads:Annual Report 2015” states that there were 2092 people killed or seriously injured (KSI) on London’s roads in 2015 (136 fatalities). 730 (66 fatal) were pedestrians and 387 (9 fatal) were cyclists.
    That should be worrying enough but the breakdown of pedestrian KSI according to location shows 114 KSI on pedestrian crossings and a further 76 KSI within 50 metres of crossings.
    In the case of cyclists, 167 KSI collisions occurred where the cyclist had right of way and the motor vehicle driver drove into/across their path.
    Draw you own conclusions!

  3. Thomas O’Mara


    Totally biased article and very naive comments. The whole country has been brainwashed into believing that all motorists are bad evil people. As a result the, now vast, money-making machine designed to stripe as much as possible from largely innocent drivers, is in full swing. Have a look at how many PCNs were issued last year . 5 MILLION. ten years ago it was a fraction. Have motorists suddenly become evil monsters? Or are the vested interests, The Police, The Councils, tfl, The massive road-painting industry etc etc are all on the take? There’s no money in pedestrians or cyclists but there is massive propaganda value when they fall victim to the “evil motorist”. How many of the victims were culpable in their own demise? When did you last see the headline “Pedestrian/cyclist at fault for their own death” ? And yet the law of averages must surely dictate that a sizeable number are at fault. There are stupid pedestrians/cyclists same as stupid motorists. But the pedestrians are ALWAYS portrayed as the innocent victims; the cyclists ditto, the motorist the careless speeding monster behind the wheel. Is this really the truth or the establishment’s way of ensuring public opinion is constantly ratcheted-up against the, cash-rich, registrationed, capitalists, flaunting their wealth behind the wheel? Motorists are criminals. All motorists are criminals. Really? Recently I’ve been done twice (6 points and £200) for “speeding” at 36 mph on a duel carriageway. How many cyclists have been done for breaking the now commonplace ridiculously low speed limits? NOT MANY. Too hard to catch. No registration plates. So easy to catch the evil motorist, so difficult the pedestrian/cyclist. As Disraeli observed. There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” 5 million PCNs per year and rising at 10%.per annum. Billions being stolen from innocent motorists. That’s the real story

    • The ETA


      By accident or design, you have completely missed the point of the article. The article has nothing to do with motoring fines and everything to do with road danger

      • Thomas O’Mara


        No I have not missed the point of the article. It’s just another propaganda exercise to further demonise the motorist, while at the same time applauding all other road users as angelic-like victims, bravely withstanding the tyranny. You are a commercial organisation who clearly believes that the further demonization of the already demonised motorist will somehow entice cyclists to take out your insurance products. Can you, in your article, point to any humanising rhetoric on behalf of the motorist or am I yet again “missing the point”? We are all equal, but some are more equal than others? Four wheels bad, two wheels good? Perhaps a more even-handed appraisal would be welcomed.

        • The ETA


          In terms of road danger reduction, we are not all equal as some road users are far more vulnerable than others and deserve more protection. It’s the difference between equality and equity. If you prefer your insurer to have a motorist-centric ethos, you may be better off buying your car breakdown or home insurance from the AA or the RAC who apologetically lobby in favour of drivers.

  4. Thomas O’Mara


    “The AA / RAC who apologetically lobby in favour of drivers” I wish !!! It’s disgraceful just how little lobbying they do, if at all. In 30 years accident-free driving I have seen them systematically ignore the outrageous ratcheting-up of pressure on, and daylight robbery of drivers by every quango in the country. They are toothless in defence of the innocent driver simply trying to get from A to B. You, the champion of the “Two wheels good” social advancement at the expense of drivers, must be delighted at how ineffectual they are. As to your point on the vulnerability of cyclists, drivers do not make cyclists cycle. It’s their choice, knowing the danger they put themselves in. Personal choice. There’s buses, trains, cars, taxis, walking and skateboarding, if cycling is too dangerous. The vast majority of drivers are careful and courteous but we’re treated as social outcasts and both abused and systematically stripped in ever-increasing amounts. I often wonder if shooting-dead by the side of the road isn’t the next punishment on the agenda for those daring to “speed” at 36 mph on duel carriageways. It certainly feels that way. What is your position on registration plates for cyclists?

  5. Dipper JP


    What a defence of a monster by Thomas o Mara. A technology that is both a lethal weapon and a chemical weapon wrapped up in one. Trying to defend a technology that enables him to have a lifestyle but disables every other life support system, air, water, soil, climate, public safety and public health. What a price to pay just to haul arse around.

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