Today is European Day Without a Road Death, or Project EDWARD. Its aim is obvious.
Most road deaths are of course caused by motor vehicles, as they are heavy and fast, and controlled by living organisms that have not evolved to handle all that speed and power. In this country we have a tendency to blame the victims of road traffic collisions, especially when those victims are vulnerable road users, such as children, pedestrians, and cyclists. Indeed the government launched its Cycle Safety review after a cyclist riding an unroadworthy bike collided with and killed a pedestrian, yet cycles cause almost no road deaths. The elephant in the room is the private motor car. According to The Sun, "Five British road users die every day on average, with latest government figures showing 1,792 killed in 2016". Why am I quoting The Sun? Because that's the only British news source that turned up in my search for "Project EDWARD" on Google News. Searching on "European Day Without a Road Death" yields a hit on Crawley News 24, but that's because Sussex Police are supporting Project Edward. On the other hand, I get lots of hits from Irish news sources. Indeed I found out about Project EDWARD, something I had never heard of before today, because I've given up listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 (and indeed the BBC in general), and now listen to Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 whilst eating my breakfast. It is, of course, front page news on the RTÉ news website, but since that will likely have changed by the time you read this, here is the article. I can't find anything about Project EDWARD on the BBC news website, but it's busy with its festival of brexit and celebrity "news".
It's not that the UK is completely ignoring this event, but the British media is. And if most of the British media is ignoring it, few British people will know about it. If the British media is busy reporting other things, clearly people in this country are going to judge those as important, rather than the mass slaughter on our roads caused by people driving motor vehicles, to which Project EDWARD is trying to alert us. So this short post is to alert you to something important about which you have probably heard nothing. And now you know about it, will you be doing anything to improve road safety today, whatever vehicle you are operating, but particularly if you are driving? How about driving (or indeed cycling) defensively, for example? And if you are responsible in any way for road design, be you a policy maker or an engineer, how about promoting the safety-by-design approach used on the Dutch road network, rather than taking the easy option of wringing your hands and blaming the victim? Road deaths can be reduced right now, without waiting for future solutions that may not work out.