This was the week we joined forces with Sustrans and Living Streets to help a community campaign for a safe crossing. We brought our inflatable pop-up zebra crossing to Barking to help local residents who struggling in the face of road danger. It was telling that those who attended the protest ranged in age from 5 to 85. The road concerned passes both a school and daycare centre. Despite a 30 mph limit, we witnessed many vehicles travelling in excess of 40 mph.
Of course, safe crossings are only a very tiny part of the solution to the road danger that plagues the lives of millions. They do not replace the need for a holistic solution – a systematic approach to the reduction of road danger involving well-designed infrastructure, legal framework, enforcement and education.
Road danger reduction is the third rail of of politics – a live wire ready to fry any politician brave enough to touch it. How else would we have found ourselves here?
A driver parking their car last year, and travelling at an estimated 5mph, not only managed to collide with a woman, but continued driving until the car had passed over her body – killing her in the process. The same driver had previously been banned from driving twice. At the time of the fatal crash, the driver was banned from driving and uninsured.
Sentencing, Judge Mark Brown told the defendant: ‘This is on any view a very sad and tragic case. You drove your car looking for a space and your vehicle collided with her and you then drove over her body. I have no doubt this has all happened within the blink of an eye.”
A collision report concluded that the defendant was driving at about 5 mph and there were no defects with the vehicle. The judge summed up by saying ‘I hope you have learned a profound lesson’ before allowing the defendant to walk free with an 18-month driving ban – that’s a ban, on top of a ban on top of a third ban.
| “One man in Britain continues to drive legally with 62 points on his licence”
A recent Freedom of Information Request sent out by the BBC, found 203 people in Britain were still driving despite accumulating more than 18 points. One man in Britain continues to drive legally with 62 points on his licence.
The police are under-funded and hampered by an inadequate legal framework – both symptoms of the complete absence of any systematic approach approach to road danger reduction. Little wonder there is such institutionalised apathy towards death and injury on the roads.
Recent articles of ours highlighting the case of a four-year-old girl on a footpath killed by a delivery driver who didn’t want to obstruct traffic attracted a barrage of criticism – one comment on this website accused us of being ‘rabid militants’.
On top of an aggressive driver lobby, British transport policy is centred on encouraging car use through heavy subsidies, the neglect of active travel and sinking billions into new roads that quickly fill with traffic. Little wonder road danger reduction in Britain is as politically toxic as gun control in America.
An insurance company like no other
Not only are we Britain’s most ethical insurance company, we campaign for sustainable transport. Sometimes that means protesting until a school gets the zebra crossing they’ve been refused, or running 60 roadshows this year to encourage people out of their cars, or fixing bicycles for free. Supporting this work is easy – you simply have to take out insurance with us. We provide home insurance, cycle insurance, travel insurance and breakdown cover – all while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.