Road safety – Gwynedd Council leads the way
A road safety campaign aimed at cutting the number of motorcyclists seriously injured or killed in Gwynedd has been hailed as a success and is set to be used as a blue-print for similar campaigns in Gwynedd and by other local authorities.
According to collision statistics gathered over recent years, motorcyclists are among the road users most likely to be involved in serious traffic accidents here in Gwynedd, and the A494 between Bala and Druids has been identified as a specific black-spot.
A partnership between Gwynedd Council, the emergency services, the Trunk Road Agency, the National Park and the Welsh Government was formed aimed at reducing casualties involving motorcyclists by focusing on this particular stretch of road and using the Welsh Government’s Road Safety Framework as a guide for the project.
Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for road safety, said: “During 2011, motorcyclists made up 39% of those either killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions on Welsh roads though they only represent about one per cent of road traffic. I think most people would agree that the tragic deaths or life changing injuries are shocking.
“Whilst a diverse range of motorcyclists are involved in collisions, a disproportionate number of these casualties are men, riding on rural roads in the summer months. To achieve the significant improvement we want, it is important that we and our partners target this group.
“We should also take into account the financial repercussions of serious collisions – it can cost the public purse up to £1.7 million to deal with the effects of fatal road collisions, for example the costs by the emergency services, clearing away the debris, investigating the cause of the accident, court and coroner costs.
“Working with our key partners to reduce the number of serious and fatal collisions is also important if we are to keep Gwynedd’s reputation as a good place to live and also a good place to visit. A high number of motorcyclists from all over the UK and Europe visit our county to enjoy the spectacular scenery and they provide a significant boost to the local economy.”
The partnership came up with practical steps to cut the risk of accidents on this route, which included:
• Road safety officers and experts spoke directly with motorcyclists about the potential risks;
• An information pack was distributed to motorcyclists visiting the area;
• Appropriate level of enforcement;
• Road improvements on the A494, including altering the road profile and installing warning signs, funded by the Welsh Government.
Colin Jones, Gwynedd Council’s Road Safety Manager, added: “We were delighted when the funding bid for £350,000 was approved by the Welsh Government to allow the Trunk Road Agency to carry out improvements on the A494.
“I believe it was given the green light as we were able to back our case up with hard evidence of the potential risks on this road, the benefits of the proposed work and how we had worked with key partners.”
Gwynedd Council and its partners hope to apply the same principals to tackling motorcycle collisions on other routes in the region and the project will be used as an example of best practice for other local authorities across Wales.
Photograph: Colin Jones, the Council’s Road Safety Manager, with Gwynedd Cabinet Member for road safety matters, Councillor Dafydd Meurig.
For more information about the Welsh Government’s Road Safety Framework please visit the website http://wales.gov.uk/topics/transport/road-users/road-safety-framework/?skip=1&lang=en
The Welsh Government’s Road Safety Framework sets a target of reducing the number of those seriously or fatally injured on Welsh roads by 40% by 2020 – this amounts to 562 lives saved.
The following partners worked on the A494 road safety project: Gwynedd Council, North Wales Police, Safety Camera Partnership, the Fire and Rescue Service, Snowdonia National Park, Bikesafe, North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency.