RoSPA: Road Safety Is Vital For Public Health

Road Safety And Public Health Teams Should Have Shared Agendas


The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) believes road safety and public health groups should work together more closely.

It has published a new report, entitled Road Safety and Public Health, and it suggested that people might be more inclined to take up walking or cycling if the UK's roads were safer.

Numerous campaigns have been launched in recent weeks to raise awareness of the importance of being careful and considerate when driving a vehicle.

Indeed, the AA introduced a scheme that saw one million yellow stickers - which act as a reminder to motorists to check their blind spots for bikers and cyclists - distributed across the country, while the government has also outlined plans to invest huge sums of money on new cycle-friendly routes, particularly in London.

RoSPA concluded that road safety and public health teams should have "shared agendas".

It used a bridge-building project in Willow Bridge, Cambridgeshire, as a good example of a venture that has helped to improve road safety and public health at the same time.

A cycle route and walkway was constructed over the River Great Ouse, which has not only given people more incentive to use pedal power, but has also helped to reduce traffic, thus lowering the chances of an accident.

The study stated that more joint projects should be launched and information should be shared between different groups more frequently.

Duncan Vernon, road safety manager at RoSPA and author of the report, said: "Many actions to improve road safety will also have a positive effect on other areas of health and we need to make sure that we're getting this right.  

"Integrated or coordinated efforts that involve road safety professionals, highways departments and public health teams are essential, especially where the joint working is supported by local strategies that make these links clear and use the best information and data."

Expert Opinion
The health benefits of cycling and walking are very well known, but time and time again there are suggestions that take-up in the former may be limited due to potential safety concerns among the general public about such activities.

"It is vital that work to improve road safety and public health goes hand-in-hand, due to the mutual benefits that such issues offer each other.

"We welcome the calls for both areas to work more closely together to develop integrated campaigns and projects which ensure that not only people get to enjoy healthier lifestyles, but they also get to do so in the safest possible manner."
Stephen Nye, Partner