Tuesday, 13 November 2012

"austerity kills": letter to the guardian 13/12/2012

The government's response to increased coverage of cyclist fatalities has been to set aside £30m for improving safety at road junctions across the UK (If Wiggins can get hit … Safety campaigners fear effect of Tour de France winner's crash, 9 November). This is far too little – it's even less than the amount the mayor of London has already cut from the capital's annual road safety budget.
We can't stop death and injury on our roads unless local authorities and the government understand the social and economic value of road safety budgets. They not only prevent avoidable tragedies for many families but also reduce NHS and emergency service costs.
London used to have an exceptional record of reducing road casualties. By 2010 there were 685 fewer children a year killed or seriously injured on London's roads than in the late 1990s. As the previous mayor's road safety ambassador for seven years, I'm sure that if we hadn't spent the money we did and made the changes we did, many of those 685 would not be walking around today.
Last year we had a 23% increase in cycling casualties and a significant jump in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured. This trend has quickened as the road safety budget has been squeezed down to less than a quarter of what it was. Put simply, austerity kills.
Jenny Jones AM
Green party group leader, London Assembly

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