Gatsos raise our risks
Britain’s Gatso-strewn roads are getting more dangerous, according to the latest Government casualty figures.
The number of speed cameras grew from 2800 to 3800 between 2002 and 2003. And the number of people killed rose by 2.25 per cent, according to the report. In 2003, 3508 people were killed on the roads, 77 more than the year before.
The news proves what we’ve been saying for months as part of our Back off Biking campaign: that speed cameras are making the roads more dangerous because they’re masking the real causes of accidents and being used to replace traffic officers.
Motorcycle accidents have risen by more than road accidents as a whole. Deaths and serious injuries were up by 2 per cent last year, while deaths alone rose by 14 per cent. If the Police Federation is right, and the casualty increase is down to there being fewer traffic officers, then the figures shouldn’t come as a surprise. As vulnerable road users, we’re bound to take the brunt of deteriorating driving standards.
It also doesn’t mean motorcycling is getting more dangerous, because it doesn’t take into account the increase in motorcycle use in 2003. Until we know how many miles were travelled by bike last year, which the DfT won’t tell us till autumn, we won’t know whether the accident rate has increased.
“The accident rate tells us what the risk is to individual riders,” explained Nick Brown, research manager for the MCI. “It’s remained static over the past 10 years.”
Brown is sure we did far more miles last year than in 2002. “Normally the riding season lasts from March to September but last year it ran from February to October,” he said.
Read more on this story in MCN out on Wednesday, July 1, 2004.
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