Safer active travel

The main risk for children whilst using the road network is through injuries sustained in road traffic collisions, which can range from minor cuts and bruises to serious injuries or death. Nationally the age at which pedestrians are most at risk is 12 years old.

Due to a number of factors, including their physical size, and level of road safety awareness, children and young people are more vulnerable to dangers on the road network. In addition their mode of travel, often by foot or pedal cycle can also increase their chance of more severe injuries, when involved in collisions with motorised traffic.

The local picture

Killed or Seriously Injured

The number of people who are killed or seriously injured on the roads is an important Public Health Indicator. This measures the number of people reported as being killed or seriously injured on roads per 100,000 people in the population. Just over 46 in every 100,000 are killed or seriously injured on Calderdale’s roads each year. This is generally in line with the regional average but significantly above the national average.

Notwithstanding the above, Calderdale has reduced its Key service indicators (KSIs) by 11% from the 2005-09 baseline average.

20mph Implementation Plan

Before launching the campaign to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential streets across Calderdale by 2017, over 2,000 local people were asked for their views. 89% told us they backed the campaign, 76% felt that the limits would create safer streets, and nearly 80% said they would feel more confident letting their children play out if drivers drove at 20mph on their streets.

If someone runs out in front of a vehicle travelling at 20mph, there is a 99% chance that they will survive – a person hit at 30mph is seven times more likely to be killed than at 20mph. Local residents continue to tell us that vehicle speeds are a key concern in their communities.

Current provision

Calderdale Council has a duty to provide a safe and expeditious environment for the movement of all traffic (including pedestrians). Traditionally this has been delivered through traffic engineering and enforcement measures. In addition to this it has a duty to promote road safety to children under Section 39 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 .

Public Health, working in conjunction with the Highway Authority, seeks to promote a safe environment for children to move around in, through the promotion of sustainable modes of travel (for example walking and cycling). By encouraging a healthier lifestyle through an increase in physical activity and outdoor recreation, this can help alleviate the problems associated with childhood obesity. Encouraging children to walk / cycle to school can also help reduce congestion around the immediate area of the school and improve air quality.

Calderdale Council continue to deliver Road Safety Education in schools as part of its Traded Services to Schools. This is delivered on a face to face basis utilising trained Road Safety Instructors who present to children at Infant, Junior and Primary schools, and via assembly at Secondary schools.

Calderdale Council deliver Bikeability training free to all. Level 1 training is aimed at building up bike skills in the playground, and level 2 training is aimed at building cycling skills on the public highway.

The Local Transport Plan Safer Roads Programme provides funding to address evidence led traffic related accidents that contribute to KSI statistics in Calderdale. This is based on two reports that are prepared by Leeds City Council on our behalf using data collected at the scene of an accident by the Police (referred to as Stats 19 data). “Sites for concern” and “Lengths for Concern”, as the names suggest, identify specific locations where there is a pattern or developing trend of traffic related accidents occurring. The list is based on the highest number of recorded accidents and assists in prioritising the work stream for the following year - hence the term “evidence led”.

Furthermore, with the collaboration of Public Health being brought into the Local Authority, the Council as a whole are implementing 20mph speed limits in residential areas. This is a three year phased plan that promotes the benefits of slower speeds in terms of active travel and more physical lifestyles, but also promotes the benefits of reduced accident severity to all road users.

User views

Feedback from teachers at schools where the Road Safety Education training sessions have been held are extremely positive. Regular monitoring from both children and adults allows the Service to update and respond to individual circumstances, maintaining a quality of service and focussing efforts on road safety key messages.

Before launching the campaign to introduce 20mph speed limits in residential streets across Calderdale by 2017, Calderdale asked over 2,000 local people for their views. 89% told us they backed the campaign, 76% felt that the limits would create safer streets, and nearly 80% said they would feel more confident letting their children play out if drivers drove at 20mph on their streets.

Unmet needs

Road Safety Education is chargeable service whereby schools have to pay for the training sessions. Not all schools in Calderdale take up the offer which leads to gaps in the level of training.

A targeted approach to identify those schools not taking part in any road safety education is currently being prepared with the objective of achieving 100% take up, Including Infant, Junior, Primary and Secondary schools, in addition to Academies and Higher Education Colleges.

Projected future need

Based on population increases in Calderdale and traffic growth, it is important that a Road Safety plan encompasses a direction that takes into account the future capacity of the Road Safety Education resource to deliver on message.

Regular recruitment drives to maintain the pool of Casual Trainers who deliver the road safety training sessions in schools are key to its future success.

The 20mph implementation plan will be completed by the beginning of 2017, with 9 residential areas in place promoting lower vehicle speeds and improving the environment for pedestrians and cyclists. To achieve success with changing driver behaviour, a 20mph education package is being developed to complement the "20’s plenty for us" initiative and create a safer more healthier environment.

Key considerations linked to the known evidence base (what works?)

Dr Adrian Davis is an Independent Consultant on Health and Transport. Recent peer reviewed papers are being used to address social marketing and 20mph, with incentives for the likes of walking to work, cycling to work and generally promoting active travel.

Dr Davis has prepared weekly evidence listings addressing the Health and Transport issues and how they interact. All of the summaries are published on a single page in order to better disseminate academic research to practitioners for implementation within planning and policy: Key evidence for strengthening current transport policies and practice .

20mph limits are promoted via the  20's plenty for us website, detailing evidence from other Local Authorities within the United Kingdom who are currently in the process of implementing 20mph zones. This includes “busting the myths” and “why 20mph”, justifying the reasoning why 20mph limits are a positive benefit to reducing accident severity plus the physical and mental well-being of a local community.

Public Health England compares the performance of districts at a regional and national level in terms of the number of Killed or Seriously Injured per 100,000 of the population: Public Health profiles - killed or seriously injured on roads .

Author

Tim Robinson, Senior Public Health Manager, Public Health, Calderdale Council.

February 2016.