Saturday, 1 December 2012

Road Casualties in Hampshire

A range of factors may have contributed to the 2011 statistics on cycling casualties, including the economic downturn leading to a reduction in car usage and increased pedestrian and pedal cycle activity; and heavy snow falls in the first and last quarters of 2010.

Recently I was asked by a resident about apparently rising casualty figures amongst cyclist on the roads.

Following enquiries that I made, I wish to share with you the reply that I gave in early November, which was prepared by Hampshire Highways:
Back in March 2000, the Government published Tomorrow’s Roads Safer for Everyone, its road safety strategy and national casualty reduction targets for 2010. By 2010, the government wanted to achieve, compared with the average for baseline 1994-98, a:
• 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in road accidents;
• 50% reduction in the number of children (under 16 years) killed or seriously injured.

In Hampshire we achieved a 40% fall in total KSIs, and a 52% fall in child KSIs over the ten year reporting period.

In 2011 the Department of Transport's new Strategic Road Safety Framework set out national principles for road safety. Whilst this document did not prescribe casualty reduction targets either nationally or locally, it directed Highway Authorities, such as Hampshire, to set their own casualty reduction targets. Accordingly, Hampshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan 2011-2031, which was formally approved at a full County Council meeting on 24 February 2011, sets our casualty reduction targets as follows:
• To reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) in road traffic accidents on Hampshire’s roads by 20% from the 2004 to 2008 average by 2020.
• To reduce the number of children killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents on Hampshire’s roads by 20% from the 2004 to 2008 average by 2020.

There is an Interim target to achieve 50% of the targeted reduction by 2015.

The Road Safety Team continues to work towards reducing casualty figures and meeting our targets as outlined above. The Road Safety Team also continues to deliver and develop road safety education, training and publicity initiatives to raise awareness about road safety and the actions people can take to help keep themselves safe. Road safety education campaigns include Be Bright, be seen, pedestrian training for children and Bikeability cycle training for young people.

Whilst we have no specific casualty reduction targets for pedestrians and pedal cyclists, we undertake comprehensive analysis of accident data and produce detailed statistics of sites, routes and areas. This information is used to identify locations where treatable accident trends and patterns exist, which can addressed through casualty reduction measures. As part of this process, we pay particular attention to collisions involving all vulnerable road users including pedal cyclists and pedestrians

However, our studies have shown that the distribution of the majority of accidents involving pedestrians and pedal cyclists across our road network are randomly located, without forming any significant cluster sites. The exception to this is a handful of sites, two in Gosport, one in Eastleigh and another in New Milton. Although we are looking at potential safety led improvements at these locations, we have recently made an expression of interest for these four sites to the Government (in response to The Times cycling campaign). as part of their capital support for safety improvements at junctions identified as having a record of cyclists being Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI).

The following table summaries the yearly casualty figures for all casualties and those involving pedestrian and pedal cyclists which have occurred on Hampshire road network that the County Council is responsible for. This excludes the Motorway and Trunk road network.


All casualties


2004
 2005
 2006
 2007
 2008
 2009
 2010
 2011
All Severities
 4417
 4295
 4075
 4127
 3526
 3396
 3422
 3542
KSI severities
 558
 531
 553
 632
 516
 569
 561
 669
 
Pedal cyclists
2004
2005
2006
 2007
2008
 2009
2010
 2011
All Severities
 416
 413
 395
 399
 361
 368
 380
 450
KSI severities
 55
 59
 48
 75
 71
 89
 75
 105
 
Pedestrians
2004
 2005
 2006
 2007
 2008
 2009
 2010
 2011
All Severities
 437
 387
 361
 393
 312
 298
 306
 355
KSI severities
 86
 62
 88
 84
 71
 86
 78
 116
                                                 
The figures in the table indicates that the between 2004 and 2010, both pedal cyclist and pedestrian KSI's have remained relatively stable. The numbers are relatively small and subject to random fluctuation from year to year. Over the last few years the total number fatal accidents has remained consistent, accounting for one per cent of the total number of all casualties. In 2011 we experienced a sharp rise in serious severity injuries compared with previous year records. The greatest increases were recorded in pedestrian, cyclists and motorcyclists road users groups.

The overall situation in Hampshire for 2011 broadly reflects the National picture. A range of factors may have contributed to this which has significantly affected the 2011 statistics. These include the economic downturn leading to a reduction in the amount of travel, fuel prices influencing car usage which in turn may have increased pedestrian and pedal cycle activity. Additionally it is recognised on a National level that the adverse weather (heavy snow falls) experienced in the first and last quarters of 2010 but not in 2011 are likely to be a factor in the increase in serious road casualties and fatalities recorded in 2011. It is important to note that year to year changes do not always show reductions, particularly when relatively small numbers are involved. It is the longer term changes which are most important.

We are, of course, approaching the end of the current year and we anxiously await to see whether 2012 is an improving situation. Please be assured that the County Council, in line with its statutory responsibility continues to undertake studies into road accidents and to take steps to reduce and prevent accidents through education, training and publicity campaigns. We will continue to work to help make Hampshire safer and more secure for all.

The final paragraph should reassure you that I and Hampshire Highways take this very seriously. As your County Councillor, I await the 2012 figures with great interest.

Tom Thacker
Hampshire County Councillor, Whitchurch and Clere Division
E-mail:  tom.thacker@hants.gov.uk