Deaths and Injuries on Wandsworth Roads

The most recent Road Accident and Casualty Figures, 2008-2010

How we got the latest statistics: One of our active WLS supporters, Paul Dinsdale, has done a heroic job  during this past summer  (2011) using the Freedom of Information Act to extract detailed statistics from Wandsworth relating to accidents and injuries on our roads. The figures cover the three most recent years – 2008, 2009 and 2010. Congratulations to Paul for persevering in extracting them, and thanks from all of us for taking this initiative.

See the full figures for yourself: . Do take a look at them. 

The Pattern of Injuries on Wandsworth roads that emerges:   Here are some of the important things that emerge from the figures.

  • How many people get injured on our roads? In 2010, the figure was 893.  That’s equivalent to the number of pupils in a middle-sized secondary school.  They include last year (2010) three people killed; 96 people seriously injured; and nearly 800 more experiencing what the authorities categorise as slight injuries.
  • The number of people being injured in collisions on our roads is rising alarmingly year on year  – 764 injured in 2008; rising to 812 in 2009; and rising still further to 893 in 2010. That is a a 17% rise in 3 years. The idea that road safety, at least in our part of London, is improving year on year turns out to be a complete myth. 
  • Is there a relationship between speed limits and numbers of people injured?  Over the 3 past years, 2,441 people were injured on roads in Wandsworth with a 30mph speed limit.  The extraordinary thing is that only two people – two people over three years – were injured on roads with a 20mph speed limit.

If ever there was a case for lowering the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph, and considering doing so not just on local residential streets managed by Wandsworth Council,  but also on selected roads controlled by Transport for London (TfL), here it is loud and clear in the statistics of human suffering.

  • Who gets injured? 21%, or one in five, of those injured by motor vehicles in the past three years — over 500 people – have been pedestrians. In addition, nearly 600 of the injured have been  cyclists.  This means that over 40% of all those injured on Wandsworth roads in collisions caused by motor vehicles are people who were not travelling in the cars or lorries or vans concerned.
  • Children paying the price: What is more,  those injured include 101 children aged 15 years or young, fifteen of them younger than four years old.

Overwhelmingly, this is a price that people living in Wandsworth are paying at the hands of motorists, some of whom are from our borough,  and some simply driving through our part of London.

It is completely unacceptable that we in the community should pay this price for a mode of transport in which, at the time of us being injured, and in a small number of cases being killed, we were not even travelling in.

 Questions for Wandsworth Council

  • Where is the Press Release drawing out attention to these statistics? Every day, at 6pm sharp, the Wandsworth Council press office issues a press release. Anyone can sign up to receive it by email. But is this always a factual service aimed at informing us residents? Or is it on occasion a PR exercise, publicising good news and ignoring the bad news? Wandsworth Living Streets would like to hear from the Council’s Press Department its response
  • Has the Council’s Strategic Planning and Transportation Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed these latest figures? If so, Wandsworth Living Streets would love to hear from the Committee’s Chair about what their conclusions were. And if it has not discussed the rising rate of injuries on roads in Wandsworth, when will it be a lead item on the Committee’s agenda? Perhaps the Committee would find it helpful to ask Wandsworth Living Streets to provide an analysis, and be called to present it to the Committee.
  • What does the Council propose to do in the light of these figures? The whole point of collecting facts and figures is to do something about a situation.  Does our Council regard these deaths and injuries as the unavoidable price we pay for having so many motorised vehicles on the roads?  If so, how many road deaths and injuries annually does the Council believe is a price worth paying for our current level of car-dependent mobility? And if this price is too high, what further steps does the Council, working with TfL, intend to take in order to reduce the nearly one thousand Wandsworth people who suffer in road accidents every year?