Birmingham City Council has set out five key strategies to transform its roads and tackle the “devastating” number of fatal collisions. Last year, the city was rocked by a spate of tragedies on its roads, sparking protests for improved road safety by concerned residents.
An online public consultation has now been launched on the city council’s new Road Harm Reduction Strategy, which aims to “end death and serious injury for users of Birmingham’s roads” – in line with the Vision Zero concept. According to the consultation document, each year in Birmingham approximately 25 people are killed and 400 people suffer serious, often life-changing, injuries.
“This is devastating and unacceptable,” it goes on to say. Cllr Liz Clements, the council’s cabinet member for transport, added that many of the city’s streets are “congested, dirty, unhealthy, and uninviting environments.”
READ MORE: Birmingham’s mental health crisis laid bare as ‘kids as young as six self-harming’
Better Streets for Birmingham, a campaign group, has welcomed the consultation and described it as an “incredibly important turning point”. As the consultation outlines, one of the five main ways Birmingham City Council wants to tackle the pressing issue of road safety and work towards zero deaths include ‘encouraging, educating, and enforcing safe behaviours’.
“As vehicle drivers have the potential to inflict the greatest harm, the focus will be on a shift away from car use to alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport”, the consultation document reads. It adds “tackling dangerous and illegal driving and parking behaviours” is another priority in this area.
Another element of the strategy is focusing on ‘safer speeds’. The consultation document says the council is already committed to reducing the speed limit on the majority of main roads in the city to 30mph.
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“We will proactively redesign residential streets to create safe, attractive environments, using the physical environment to limit vehicle speeds to 20mph or slower,” it adds. On the roads themselves, the council says it will invest to “transform local streets” and prioritise the health of residents “over the need to accommodate motor vehicles”.
The consultation continues: “On designated arterial routes, we will seek to separate different modes of transport, creating regulated, attractive environments which limit the potential for interaction and collisions.”
The council also wants to educate and enforce drivers to keep vehicles safe and legal in a bid to tackle issues such as uninsured motorists and people driving without a valid MOT. It continues that it will also help lobby the government to promote the rollout of technology and innovate design features to improve vehicle safety.
Finally, the consultation document focuses on post-crash care and how an effective response from the emergency and medical services can make the difference between survival and death. “Subsequently, collision and casualty data is used to inform future road safety interventions,” it adds.
“Where those involved in the collision and their families are willing, sharing their story with the wider community can help others to understand the potential for harm and lead to behaviour change.”
The consultation is open now and runs until April 5.
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