Road safety campaigners joined forces today (24 October) on Albert Square, Manchester to demonstrate how the emergency services work together to rescue road accident victims trapped under cars.
The dramatic stunt was staged by the emergency services to highlight the dangers posed to cyclists and bikers straying into the blind spots of HGVs and buses. It was timed to coincide with a potential increase in cyclist and biker deaths and serious injuries due to mornings and evenings being darker in the winter months. To view images of the demonstration, visit our Flickr site.
In the five years 2007/2011 there have been 12 motorcyclists and pedal cyclists killed and 44 seriously injured as a result of accidents with HGVs and buses on the roads of Greater Manchester. In the same period five road deaths and 10 serious injuries occurred where the driver’s vision was affected by the vehicle’s blind spot.
Campaigners say that cyclists, bikers and HGV drivers should take extra care when sharing the road to ensure that they are visible to each other. Drivers should especially watch out for cyclists when turning left.
Cyclists are warned to give HGVs a wide berth and remember that behind a lorry is the safest place to be. They should also move forward when stopped in front of a truck and only overtake on the right when safe to do so to ensure that they remain visible to the driver.
This increased policing focus on road safety is a part of Operation Dice launched earlier this year in response to a shocking increase in road deaths in 2011 when 75 people lost their lives on the roads of Greater Manchester. This was an increase of 42 per cent on the previous year and reversed a long term downward trend in road deaths.
Under Operation Dice Greater Manchester Police is working with other emergency services and partners to increase public awareness of the ‘fatal four’ factors that feature in most road accidents ie drink driving, speeding, drivers using mobile phones and drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts.
It also tackles drivers putting their own lives and that of their passengers and road users at risk through dangerous driving and flouting road safety laws.
Inspector Paul Rowe from GMP’s Roads Policing Unit said; “Stay safe, stay back is the most important message we can give to cyclists and bikers. They, by the very nature of their mode of transport are especially vulnerable on the roads and should along with other road users take extra care when sharing our roads.
“Visibility is the key factor in many traffic accidents and cyclists and bikers can increase theirs by good road positioning, ensuring they use front and rear lights and wearing high-vis clothing.
Area Manager Dave Keelan, GMFRS’ Head of Prevention Services, said: “Our fire fighters rescue more people from road traffic collisions than they do from house fires, so we’re committed to improving the safety on our roads.
“We know what devastation a road traffic collision can have, not only on those involved but on their family and the wider community. We are determined to do all we can to reduce these collisions and the number of people that are killed or seriously injured on our roads.”
Karen Delaney from DriveSafe said: “Greater Manchester has some of the busiest roads in the country and being a major hub for commercial activity has more than its fair share of HGVs either visiting or passing through the county. Road safety is the responsibility of all road users so I would urge everyone, especially in the dark mornings and evenings to take extra care and give each other loads of room so everyone can get home safe.”
Image og Light Lane