Friday, 11 December 2009

The most unlikely people

...have done a study in support of 20mph speed limits.

UK cities should have more 20mph speed zones, as they have cut road injuries by over 40% in London, a study claims.

In particular the number of children killed or seriously injured has been halved over the past 15 years, the British Medical Journal reported.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine study estimates 20mph zones have the potential to prevent up to 700 casualties in London alone.

Well, I can't think of anyone more qualified to do a study on 20mph zones.

The researchers compared data on road collisions, injuries and deaths in London between 1986 and 2006, with speed limits on roads.

Is it a quiet time for tropical disease research, then?

After adjusting for a general reduction in road injuries in recent years, they found that the introduction of 20mph zones were associated with a 41.9% drop in casualties.

What kind of adjustment? Why is any kind of adjustment needed? Either 20mph zones make a difference or they don't. Or maybe they've been attending the CRU's classes on data fiddling?

He estimated that 20mph zones in London save 200 lives a year, but this could increase to 700 if plans to extend the zones were implemented.

Is this using the "adjusted" figures, perchance? And I rather think this figure is calculated using the same method as the amount of money lost to music piracy each year (as in it's completely made up, because they have no idea if people would have bought the music if they couldn't otherwise download it - in this case they can't firmly state 200 lives have been saved because they've don't conclusively know that they would have been lost if the 20mph limit wasn't there).

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "This research confirms that one of the most effective ways of protecting vulnerable road users, especially children, is the introduction of 20mph zones.

All very well. For the record, I think that 20mph zones in residential areas/around schools/high streets, etc are generally a good thing, provided we don't see "feature creep" of people then pushing for these limits in non-residential areas as well.

But I would ask: What the fuck has happened to this gentleman?

Surely, with the introduction of 20mph speed limits, education for pedestrians and cyclists should come with it? After all, leaving aside the extreme minority of cases where a car has mounted a pavement, if a pedestrian was hit in the road by a car, it's likely they weren't looking properly, a mistake which is exacerbated by a car travelling at excess speeds. Cars need to keep to the speed limit, but by the very same token, pedestrians need to be aware of how to look for traffic properly, and pick safe places to cross.

It's all very well having this plastered over every advert break:

But let's have a little balance, shall we?:


AngryDave said...

When i was at primary school we were taught the green cross code, road saftey and cycling profficiency. At my school, Hareclive Primary, we even had a song about the green cross code that we used to sing in assembly.
I am only 31 years old and my eleven year old niece (who has just started secondry school) was taught the green cross code by me. For whatever reason it is not taught in schools anymore, and i cannot understand why.
Until he died when i was in my early twenties my paternal grandfather's last words to me every time i visited were "mind them roads".

Instead the responsibility is placed soley on drivers. But, this is a reflection of society in general. People no longer take any responsibility for their own actions. Ask any police/prison officer.

Bristol Dave said...

Exactly - in most collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the driver bears some responsiblity - but not all, as some would like to believe (and you know who you are).

In fact, more than half (55%) of collisions between a vehicle and a pedestrian are due to contributory factors entirely assigned to the pedestrian, with "failing to look properly" being the most contributing factor (source). In comparison, only 21% of collisions are solely due to contributory factors assigned to the driver, with the remaining 24% being both assigned to the driver and the pedestrian (same source). Also alcohol has a large part to play - highlighted by the large number of accidents that happen on a Friday and Saturday night, and that an amazing 72% of pedestrians at this time were over the legal limit.

I too had many lessons in schools about the dangers of roads and how it's important to look before you cross the road, as well as choosing a safe place to cross. I can only assume this is no longer taught, or completely ignored, given the amount of kids I see stumbling straight out into the road behind a parked van...

banned said...

You may find that they abandoned the Green Cross Code in case teaching it somehow made schools responsible for childrens injuries in spite of them using it. " You said I'd be safe if I did this but I still got hurt and it's all your fault".

I'm all in favour of 20mph limits in residential streets, moreover I don't need to be told to slow down in such streets especially when the children are on their way to and from school. What takes the piss though is blanket lower limits that apply 24/7 on the main through roads of residential areas which is why they are roundly ignored, not least by bus drivers and police cars.