Road safety chiefs on Merseyside have vowed to try and cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the area’s roads by a third by 2020.
In a new strategy just unveiled Merseyside Road Safety Partnership says it wants to see the number of deaths and injuries slashed to an all time low of 400 within the next three years.
Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy joined Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Julie Cooke, Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Cllr Steve Rotheram, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority Vice Chair Councillor Les Byrom and Area Manager Guy Keen to launch the new strategy at Crosby Fire Station on Crosby Road North, Waterloo.
In 2015, casualty figures involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorists in Merseyside totalled 585, the second highest number recorded since 2006. Figures for 2016 show that the figure has risen further to almost 600.
Figures in the new strategy also reveal a strong rise in the number of casualties in Sefton and the Wirral since 2010, whilst most recently casualties in Knowsley and St Helens have risen sharply in the last two years.
The new strategy also highlights key areas which show a marked increase in the number of accidents involving cyclists, motorcyclists and older road users locally since 2010.
For example the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in Merseyside since 2010 has risen from 5% to 17% out of the total casualties recorded in that period, while the number of motorcyclists involved in accidents has nearly doubled from 12% to 22% in the same period.
The number of accidents involving road users aged over 60 in the last 10 years meanwhile has risen by 53 %. This includes pedestrians and both older drivers and passengers in vehicles.
The figures also show that for road users over 70, the chances of being killed or seriously injured in a road collision are as high as 29 %, while with those aged over 80 the likelihood is 37 %.
As part of the drive to reduce the risk to cyclists, Merseyside Road Safety Partnership has recently launched a Safe Pass campaign urging drivers to make sure they give cyclists enough room (minimum 1.5m) when overtaking them on the road. The campaign has already featured a number of education and enforcement initiatives in the local area, designed to highlight the dangers of driving too close to cyclists.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Every death or serious injury on the roads of Merseyside is one too many. Almost 570 families received that dreadful knock on the door last year, to be told that their son or daughter, wife or husband, mother or father had been seriously injured or even killed. For the family, that phone call, that knock on the door, stops the world turning.
“Here on Merseyside, too many people are knocked down, knocked off their motor bikes and cycles every year, or are injured in their cars. That’s why I have made working in partnership to improve road safety one of my policing priorities. Merseyside Police has a pivotal role enforcing the law to improve the safety of the travelling public especially on our road network.
“Ultimately it must be our vision that there is zero loss of life and much reduced risk of injury on our roads.”
Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Julie Cooke said: “Merseyside Police and our key partners are absolutely committed to the reduction of deaths and serious injuries on the roads of Merseyside, a commitment demonstrated by the launch of this strategy.
“We all recognise the massive impact that these incidents have on individuals and communities, and initiatives such as the Safe Pass campaign will raise vital awareness on being considerate of all road users, and bring about long-lasting changes in driving behaviour and safety.”
Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Cllr. Steve Rotheram said: “We urgently need to make our roads safer especially for more vulnerable groups like cyclists and pedestrians. We are not going to be able to promote cycling as a healthy, sustainable and family- friendly transport mode, unless we convince people it is safe.
“We need a concerted campaign, but also significant behavioural change from motorists in particular to be more responsible, aware and considerate.”
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Guy Keen said: “It is clear that there is important work to be done bring the number of casualties down on Merseyside’s roads. With the latest figures for people killed or seriously injured 33% above the target set for 2020 we acknowledge our part to play in this.
“We believe that close working between ourselves and other partners can help bring behaviour changes among road users and create safer roads for us all.”