Safer Streets protest

A number of different protest organisations came together in Bath at the week-end to campaign for safer streets.

As part of a national campaign, people from Kidical Mass Bath, Walk Ride Bath and Extinction Rebellion Bath gathered on Churchill Bridge.

In a press release they state:
“Every day on Britain’s roads, people die premature and traumatic deaths or suffer life changing injuries in preventable collisions. Most of us, thankfully, will never experience losing someone in such a way. But for those that do, the grief and injustice are unthinkable.

What many of us do experience, as the numbers of vehicles on our roads increase, is a pervasive fear for our safety and that of our families and friends. Up goes the age at which we allow our children outside to play independently, stifling their resilience. Sleep is intruded by the thought of a blue illuminated knock at the door when our teenagers are late home. And even simple local trips by bike are punctuated by uncertainty as to whether vehicles rumbling behind will pass too close and knock us down.

We have been conditioned to accept these anxieties, and over a thousand deaths per year, as a price worth paying for the ease and economic benefits of driving. The momentum to improve the situation on our roads has waned, and for many years now these grim statistics have been flat lining.

Through a combination of cuts, ideological opposition to public health interventions and lobbying of a sympathetic government by powerful motoring and big oil groups, society has lost its way when it comes to road safety.

Cllr Joanna Wright from Lambridge Ward addressed the group. She told them: “Between 2017 and 2021, 15 people were killed and 133 were seriously injured on the roads in BANES.  This is just not acceptable” 
“We don’t want to cull politicians, but we certainly need to curb the car lobby.”

Between 1994 and 2020, road traffic in BANES grew by 30%, with corresponding increases in noise, danger to other road users and gridlock.

It could be very different – after years of committed action, Helsinki and Oslo cut pedestrian deaths to zero in 2019.  This was achieved by cutting speed limits, changing street design, removing space for cars and balancing the needs of motorists with those of cyclists and pedestrians.