Across the UK, someone is killed or seriously injured on our roads every 16 minutes. These sudden and unexpected tragedies leave in their wake ruined lives, grieving families and whole communities torn apart by what they have witnessed. They create a climate of fear which limits children’s play and makes the acts of walking, wheeling and scooting a source of anxiety rather than joy.
As a society, we have for decades prioritised the convenience of travelling by car at the expense of our safety. More and more of our space has been given over to motor vehicles, only to see it clogged up with traffic. Our peace has been shattered by the ever growing number of dangerous machines that fill our roads. And the victims of this constant threat rarely see justice served, with perpetrators left to drive for months or even years before their cases come to trial, and almost never subject to lifetime bans – even when they’ve killed someone.
Safe Streets Now is a grassroots coalition of community groups across the UK, backed by national road safety organisations (including The ETA).
At 11am on Saturday 30th September we will stand together in a series of co-ordinated events across the country to reclaim our space, find our peace and demand justice for the victims of road danger.
Find out how you can get involved at safestreetsnow.co.uk
How the Dutch tackled road harm
Dutch infrastructure for cycling is now the envy of the world, but it was not always so. Post-war Netherlands saw a nation with a strong cycling tradition take to the car en masse.
The price was heavy. The Netherlands earned itself the dubious title of most dangerous place in the world for child traffic casualties. By 1971 road deaths had reached 3,300. Amongst the 450 child victims that year was six-year-old Simone Langenhoff who was killed by a speeding driver as she cycled to school.
The events that followed Simone’s death were depressingly familiar at a time when 25 children a day were being injured by vehicles: The driver received a paltry fine equivalent to £20; Simone’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown and the marriage fell apart. The family’s life was shattered.
However, Simone’s death was different in one respect. Her father was Vic Langenhoff, a journalist at the De Tijd, a Dutch daily newspaper. His grief and anger prompted him to write a full-page article entitled ‘Stop de Kindermoord’ (‘Stop the Child Murders’).
Langenhoff called for the formation of a group to break through ‘the apathy with which the Dutch people accept the daily carnage of children in traffic’.
The Dutch have 33,000 to 35,000 kilometres of dedicated cycling infrastructure. 70 per cent of all urban streets in the Netherlands have a speed limit of 30 km/h and traffic calming measures are widespread. The result is that people of all ages and abilities are able to walk and ride their bicycles in safety.
Most children travel to school by bicycle – those too little to pedal are ferried serenely by cargo bike.
By contrast here in Britain the proportion of pupils driven to school by car has risen to almost half. Little wonder that more than 950 schools in Britain are near roads which have harmful levels of illegal pollution.
Stop Killing our Children
Stop Killing our Children examines how road danger damages us all, whatever our age and however we travel, and questions our collective blindness to both its cause and remedy.The 40-minute, crowdfunded film is narrated by the BBC’s John Simpson and features interviews with Chris Boardman, Dr Rachel Aldred, Dr Ian Walker, George Monbiot and the founders of the Stop de Kindermoord movement amongst others. Please help turn the tide against road danger. Please watch the full-length film below and share
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.