The number of people killed on North Yorkshire’s roads is the lowest since modern records began, according to latest figures.
Thirty one people died on the county’s roads during 2015, compared to 40 during 2014.
No children (aged 15 or under) were killed in road collisions in 2015 and there had been no child fatality in the county since 2012 though tragically a child was killed on the roads this month. The number of children seriously injured decreased by 26 per cent to 20 in 2015. The total number of child casualties however, increased by 5 per cent.
The latest summary of road collision and casualty statistics for North Yorkshire also show that during 2015 the number of people seriously injured increased slightly in North Yorkshire by 2 per cent from 391 to 398. The total number of casualties also rose by 3 per cent
Those killed in cars reduced significantly by 44 per cent – from 18 in 2014 to 10 in 2015. However, the number of car occupants who were seriously injured increased by 10 from 170 to 180.
Four cyclists died on the roads, compared to 3 in 2014 but the number seriously injured reduced from 64 to 53.
The majority of crashes and injuries in the county occurred on rural roads outside of towns and villages – where speed limits are 50 or 60 mph. The number of fatalities on these roads was lower by 31 per cent in 2015, but those seriously hurt increased by 9 per cent to 298.
In total there were 1,499 casualties on rural roads where there is a broad mix of users, from tractors and local traffic, cyclists and motorcyclists to heavy goods vehicles and daily commuters.
This means that every fortnight in North Yorkshire there is 1 death, 17 seriously injured and 73 slightly injured on the roads.
“There is a shift from fatalities to serious injuries”, said Acting Chief Constable Tim Madgwick, Chair of the 95 Alive Road Safety Partnership.
“Whilst we continue to work to reduce and prevent crashes and casualties, this reduction in people dying on our roads is a very welcome improvement. We think this is most likely due to a combination of factors. This may include better survival through medical treatment at the scene and in hospital; drivers keeping to lower speeds, improvements in targeted enforcement on KSI routes and improved safety features within cars, such as side and curtain airbags.
“In addition, we believe the investment that we as a partnership make into providing drivers and all road users with information, training and timely reminders to help them avoid potential hazards and to expect the unexpected, is making a difference. Modern highways engineering, designs and practices also play their part.
“It is too soon to say which factor or factors are the most significant in the changes but this will be tracked and we will also compare what happens here to other, similar areas of the country.”
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive M3ember for Highways said that much was being done to encourage all road users to share the roads safely, particularly in relation to cycling. He said: “Cycling is an increasingly popular sport and activity on our roads. We are investing significantly into reducing and preventing cyclist casualties with a specific focus on raising awareness of cyclists on popular routes. We have produced new posters, information, advertisements and online advice to drivers and to cyclists to help increase awareness in this respect.”
Nevertheless the County Council is doing much to promote the health benefits of cycling. “We are working with our partners through 95 Alive to improve safety and to reassure people that cycling is an ideal way to travel in North Yorkshire,” said County Councillor David Chance, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Health. “It helps people to stay active and they can enjoy cycling and the associated health benefits as part of their daily lives.”