One of the four main pillars of my new Police and Crime Plan is road safety and we’re offering communities the chance to bid for funding to make improvements in their neighbourhoods.
There’s just one week left to submit your application to the Vision Zero ‘Call For Ideas’ for a chance to receive a share of £100,000.
During my five years in office, I have visited countless communities throughout Devon and Cornwall – and the one concern that every village, town and city shares is road safety.
In our recent road safety survey, more than 75% of those who responded said they witnessed road traffic offences on a daily or weekly basis and felt that more enforcement was needed.
Because my job is to represent you – the public – road safety quickly became one of my main priorities early on in my first term of office. I took on the national APCC portfolio for road safety and helped establish the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership, which I now chair.
Vision Zero is a shared commitment between a number of organisations across Devon and Cornwall. The one thing they all share is a commitment to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the region to zero.
Vision Zero is led by a partnership board which includes a wide range of experts from all around the South West including senior police and fire officers, leading clinicians, councillors and the OPCC.
As part of this ground-breaking collaboration, we have made it our mission to try and do things differently by developing innovative and efficient methods to improve road safety through both enforcement and education.
One such initiative is the Call For Ideas. Nobody knows the problems or issues with local roads better than the people who live in those communities, so we’ve made £100,000 available for communities to tackle those problems.
The ‘Call For Ideas’ is looking for projects that require relatively small amounts of money but offer ‘big wins’ when it comes to preventing death and serious injury on our roads. Driving down serious collisions is something we simply can’t do without your help.
If your ideas include projects that are deliverable, cost effective and help improve road safety among our vulnerable road user groups – Young Drivers, Older Drivers, Cyclists, Motorcyclists, Pedestrians and Business Drivers - then we want to hear them.
Projects should be accurately costed and ideally also have the support of your local council, whether it’s parish, town, city, county or unitary. You can submit your ideas on the Vision Zero South West website at https://visionzerosouthwest.co.uk/call-for-ideas/
As I’ve said, communities know their roads better than anyone and residents are often best placed to offer expertise in solving problems that could reduce collisions.
Quite often the solutions are relatively simple and don’t require much funding but make a huge difference to hundreds of people’s lives. We want to hear these ideas which as much background and evidence as possible to support them.
The launch of the Call For Ideas coincided with the release of the Department for Transport’s annual road casualty statistics which made for sobering reading.
In Devon and Cornwall 44 people were killed and 624 people were seriously injured. While this is a reduction compared to 2019 - when there were 48 people killed and 768 seriously injured – 2020 also saw a 21% reduction in vehicle traffic across Great Britain due to the Covid-19 lockdowns.
The Department for Transport say the decrease in fatalities in 2020 is associated with this reduction in road traffic, meaning the rate of fatalities actually increased in 2020.
Of those killed or seriously injured on Devon and Cornwall’s roads:
- 270 were car occupants
- 196 were motorcyclists
- 96 were pedestrians
- 78 were cyclists
- 18 were van/light goods vehicle occupants
- 2 were HGV occupants
- 1 was a bus or coach occupant
There were also four reported casualties of incidents involving e-scooters in Devon and Cornwall during 2020.
When dealing with figures like these it’s important to remember that every single one represents a person who has suffered dramatically as a result of a collision on our roads.
Whether it’s someone who dies, sustains a brain injury, loses a limb or suffers from the harrowing mental effects of a road traffic collision, the effect this incident has on them – as well as their friends and family - cannot be underestimated.
The whole purpose of Vision Zero South West is to cut road traffic deaths to zero. All our partners will admit this is an extremely ambitious target but one which needs to be at the forefront of all of our minds.
We can only achieve this by working alongside our local communities, which is why the Call For Ideas is such an important initiative.
You can submit your ideas on the Vision Zero South West website by visiting https://visionzerosouthwest.co.uk/call-for-ideas/
Entries close on November 1, 2021 and will be scrutinised by a panel of judges made up of road safety experts on the Vision Zero South West board. Successful applications will be announced on November 21.