Tower Hamlets to combat rising death and injury toll from road casualties

Tower Hamlets is trying to improve its poor road safety record. Pic: Emmanuella Kwenortey

Tower Hamlets is trying to improve its poor road safety record. Pic: Emmanuella Kwenortey

A borough-wide campaign aimed at reducing road-related casualties in Tower Hamlets is underway as part of National Road Safety week.

Last year, Tower Hamlets had the fifth highest road casualty rate in London with 1,221 accidents. Of those, 8 individuals were killed and 80 seriously injured including two children.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “With so much traffic in our borough, it is vital that we do all we can so residents and visitors can feel safe on the borough’s roads.”

Seventy per cent of the total casualties in Tower Hamlets were men and the highest proportion of victims was drivers with 392 injured, cyclists 273 injured and 208 pedestrians injured. Seventy per cent of victims were aged between 25 and 59.

In the same year Mile End Road in East London was named one of Britain’s most dangerous roads for cyclists. Tower Hamlets was behind Westminster, which had the largest number of casualties, followed by Lambeth, Ealing and Barnet.

The campaign which began on November 23 encourages residents to walk, cycle and use public transport, while council workshops and safety talks take place in schools.

Councillor Ayas Miah, cabinet member for environment, said: “It is really important that children in the borough are protected from the dangers associated with roads. It is great to see so much work being done in primary schools by the council to educate pupils about using our roads.”

Biggs added: “The implementation of a 20mph speed limit, and the plans contained within our new Cycling Strategy, will help us to reduce road-related accidents for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.”

Tower Hamlets residents welcomed the initiative but expressed concerns about its impact.

Pic: Emmanuella Kwenortey

Chloe Webber and Daniel Opoqu Pic: Emmanuella. Kwenortey

Daniel Opoqu, 32, a nursing assistant from Mile End said: “During road works, road safety is especially poor. What is needed in this area are more traffic lights and signs.”

Chloe Webber, 19, nursing assistant from Mile End said: “It’s a good idea and I hope it’ll make parents more aware about road safety – but it’ll only make a small difference. It’s drivers who need more road safety awareness, not pedestrians.”




Ellie Bates. Pic: Emmanuella Kwenortey

Ellie Bates. Pic: Emmanuella Kwenortey

Ellie Bates, 29, a teacher from Mile End said: “I’m always worried about my students, but fortunately most of them use side roads to get to the local school. I’m not sure how far the campaign will go in making an impact – it’s the driving culture that dramatically needs to change.”

Find out more about Road Safety Week in Tower Hamlets on the council’s website.

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