Road safety

Our roads. Our streets.

I campaign for everyone to be able to safely, quickly and easily transport themselves whether on foot, by one, two, or more wheels or even by the air.

As a cyclist, I sometimes feel more vulnerable on the road. I shouldn’t. No one should. This feeling perhaps opens my eyes more to the problems on our roads and gives me the drive (pardon the pun) to make our roads a safer place.

Roads in the UK are quite safe; at times nearly the safest in Europe.  People still die though with about 5 people on average a day loosing their lives.  It doesn’t sound a lot but each and every one is a life. A human life. The devastation that surrounds the sudden ripping away of that life ripples through the lives of others. No one plans to go out, transport themselves and not come back that evening.  My Mum’s best friend was killed in a car on car collision.  When I was at primary school, my Year 6 teacher, who had been with us for a month and a bit, was ripped away. Road are full of risk.  The effects are enormous.  Most people directly or indirectly know someone who has died.  This needs to stop.

Everyone needs to follow the rules and advice of using the road. Otherwise one person’s mistake can become the injury or death of another person.

I found this video and thought the tips were useful:

Walking, cycling, driving or well, even minding one’s own business just sitting in a coffee shop can be dangerous.

Everyone needs to have due care, consideration and respect for other road users.  People need to use their eyes and their minds in order to navigate themselves in the most efficient, easiest but the safest and most courteous way.

I want to make it very clear that I do not place the bicycle as a superior mode of transport.  I don’t overlook the fact that, for example, some cyclists jumping red lights can cause accidents or that some pavement cyclists have hit, injured and even killed pedestrians.

Here’s a brief example of a recent case of not using eyes nor brain.

Photo credit: Royston Davies, January/February 2016

How did this happen?  Why did this happen?  This is just over a mile from my house. I found out from someone who witnessed this that a lorry wanted to come from the road furthest in the photo to the nearest point. The driver of the lorry left the scene after causing this damage. Not only will tax payers have to foot the bill for a new safety barrier to be installed but what if a person had been there.  

On 29th January, on my way to the gym I noticed this just over a mile from home.

Copyright – Samuel Shoesmith

How? The police would have conducted interviews with those involved and if necessary analysed the marks in the road to work out the positioning and speed the vehicle travelled. To avoid speculation, I contacted the police but they declined to comment.

With the official route closed off, I took to crowd source my answers on the Wellingborough Now & Then, a community Facebook group. Of course, speculation from members of the the public arose and conflicting accounts of what happened were laid out. One person claimed another car came on the wrong side of the road causing this red car to swerve. Another witness said she was walking her dog, heard it skid, hit the bollard and then carry on. The latter claims to have spoken to the passenger who said “they had missed judged [sic] the corner”.

You may think why am I bothering? By the sound of these witnesses, no one else was hurt and it was simply a misjudgement. Yeah. Ummm. Well . . .

Copyright – Samuel Shoesmith

Imagine if someone was walking where the car hit the bollard. Like this:

Someone happened to be walking past . . .

Copyright – Samuel Shoesmith

And that person ended up like this . . .

Copyright – Samuel Shoesmith

The photo below is taken with the car behind me. The road in front is Brickhill Road. This area is a 20mph zone. Would going at 20mph have caused this much damage to the car? It is made of metal not paper. And the bollard was no more.

Copyright – Samuel Shoesmith

The bollard even had high-vis on yet the car still managed to hit it. I contacted the council through the Street Doctor and after a short while it was replaced. This photo was taken on the 11th February. Let’s hope this never happens again but if it does, at least pedestrians have this as a first line of defence to protect them.

Copyright – Samuel Shoesmith

Pay attention to one’s surroundings.

But how can all road users pay attention to their surroundings when their surroundings are hidden from view. On Friday 30th September 2016, Transport for London published this video.

These changes to HGVs are great. Think how bizarre it is that the most vulnerable road users – pedestrians and cyclists are killed simply because they are hidden from sight due to the poor design of these vehicles. In a few decades, we will look back in shock at how we let these use our roads. Mayor Sadiq Khan has sadly set a long time span as an obligation for the changes to come into force. There will be a rating system put in place. It is a shame enforcement and therefore change of HGV design is not happening around the rest of the United Kingdom as well.

I checked up on CUR reg 30 (The Road vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, 1986) and it states, “Every motor vehicle shall be so designed and constructed that the driver thereof while controlling the vehicle can at all times have a full view of the road and traffic ahead of the motor vehicle”.  So why isn’t this the case?!  It’s written into law.

More soon.



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