Our friends over at cycleSheffield have sent an email to all of the 4 PCC candidates asking for a statement of priorities for actions to prevent deaths and injuries on South Yorkshire’s roads. The particular emphasis is on protecting vulnerable road users , pedestrians and cyclists.
The email is copied below as it will be interesting in particular to hear their views on enforcement of 20mph speed limits.
To: David Allen, English Democrats,; Alan Billings, Labour; Jack Clarkson, UKIP; Ian Walker, Conservative.
Cycle Sheffield has over 550 members concerned about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians and the pressing need for healthier forms of travel. To help them make their voting decisions we intend to advise our members and other interested parties on your policies for road policing.
We would be grateful for a statement from you on:
- the priorities for road policing and possible police actions to prevent death and injury on SY roads;
- the education and enforcement that should or could be in place to ensure that moving traffic offences and anti-social driving do not create unnecessary risks for all other road users.
We note that:
- 32 people were killed as victims of collisions on SY roads and 23 were killed as victims of violent crime in 2013;
- nearly 4000 people were injured in road collisions on SY roads in 2013 and disturbingly the proportion of pedestrian casualties that are children is rising;
- press reports on hit and runs in SY are depressingly regular and frequent;
- drivers seem unable to voluntarily change their behaviour (cf speeds on Normanton Hill where Jasmine Chan was killed);
- our members report regular and frequent traffic offences by drivers, eg obstructing cycle lanes and access to cycle paths, queueing in yellow boxes, stopping in ASLs, speeding in 20mph zones etc;
- Sheffield City Council wants to get more people cycling to improve health and wellbeing, reduce congestion, and improve air quality but the evidence to the recent cycling inquiry in Sheffield showed that most of the hundreds of respondents said that people were unwilling to choose cycling because they think it unsafe because of the behaviour of other road users;
- SY traffic collision data indicates that killed and injured figures overall are steadily decreasing year on year but national statistics show that people are travelling fewer miles in cars year on year so whether SY roads are becoming safer is a very moot point.
- We also note that 4% of the total SYP budget spend is on road policing and 42% on local policing.
We believe that
- many collisions are the result of excessive driving speeds, particularly in 20mph zones;
- many collisions with vulnerable road users indicate driving that is inappropriate to the conditions at the time;
- ‘minor’ traffic offences are a severe risk to cyclists, eg obstructing a contraflow cycle lane, or queuing in a yellow box, and deter people who want to choose cycling;
- anti-social driving, eg tailgating, cutting-up, abuse, driving into ASLs, overtaking too close (the punishment pass), is a significant deterrent for vulnerable road users like cyclists.