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Road safety. A timely reminder for all.

26th November 2014

Road Safety Week (ending 23 November) provides a good opportunity for us all to focus on looking out for each other so that lives can be saved and catastrophic injuries avoided.

Whether we are a cyclist, pedestrian, driver or motorcyclist (or perhaps all of these), we can probably all think of recent examples of incidents or “near misses” that could have been avoided by a bit more care and consideration, and of course avoiding drugs and alcohol.

There are far too many cyclists on the pavements, ignoring traffic lights, having no lights, wearing dark clothing and not wearing bike helmets (and sometimes a combination of all of these). We see parents expecting children to wear bike helmets whilst not being prepared to set an example by wearing one themselves.

One comes across pedestrians wandering out in front of bikes without looking, having dogs on long (or no) leads on cycle paths, and not using pedestrian crossings. We see motorcyclists overtaking traffic queues at speed, cars, vans and lorries overtaking (motor) bikes without allowing proper room.

Most common and dangerous of all, and the cause of so many deaths and catastrophic injuries that we have seen in our legal cases over the years; drivers pulling out or overtaking without looking or (more commonly) failing to take a few moments longer to re check that there is definitely no car, bike or motorbike approaching. In our experience over the years, it is particularly motorbikes that are not “seen”, with often terrible consequences. If the drivers who “take a chance” in this way could see the horrendous photographs that we have seen over the years of mangled legs (riders sometimes looking like shark attack victims), or talk to the victims and loved ones about the change of personality resulting from brain injury, they would surely be more careful.

Statistically and unsurprisingly, the younger and more inexperienced road users are more likely to be involved in serious road accidents. We hear and read of terrible tragedies involving local children and young adults. Drugs, alcohol, overconfidence and peer pressure can have dreadful results.

If we all take a moment to reflect and think of those we know or have heard of (perhaps high profile people such as James Cracknell) who have been the victims of road incidents, then we all have it in us to make our roads and pavements far safer places.

Contributed by Paul Fretwell, Partner, Personal Injury Department

Personal Injury Blog
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