Every day, children and young people are killed in road accidents - in 2011, 2,412 children under 16 were killed or seriously injured on the roads, according to Department for Transport figures.
It is vital that the roads are made safer for walking and cycling, which in turn, can improve the public’s health, says the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), as the same issues underpin poor health and well as safety. A greater volume of traffic leads to an increase in air pollution, and has an impact on quality of life.
Its report, Road Safety and Public Health, calls for a working partnership between public health and transport professionals, as a shared agenda can encourage walking and cycling, which not only has a positive impact on a range of health issues ranging from heart disease, diabetes, mental health, air pollution, but a safer road environment, meaning less accidents.
ROSPA wants these teams to collaborate to create a safer road environment - this includes reducing the speed and volume of traffic, and introducing road layouts that encourage cycling and walking. One example where this was successfully carried out was at Willow Bridge in Cambridgeshire, where a walking and cycling bridge connecting two communities was built over the River Great Ouse, reducing car journeys. Joint working can also be supported by sharing information and data.
Duncan Vernon, road safety manager at RoSPA and author of the report, said: “Transport has a big impact on health, and so it is important that we understand how road safety activities fit into this. 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.”
Read the full report at www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/rospa-road-safety-and-public-health.pdf