London, 13 Oct 2004.
For immediate release.

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ABD Launches A Better Safety Strategy for Children
Transport 2000 & co. Must Stop Being "Part of The Problem"
The ABD today joined calls by Barnardo's, Transport 2000 and Brake for better road safety for children — but with a very different view as to how best to achieve this.
 
The ABD's ten point strategy is based on investment in infrastructure, the encouragement of responsibility amongst all road users and the targetting of police activity on dangerous behaviour rather than criminalising safe driving.
 
"Transport 2000 are an environmental group funded by the bus and train industry", said ABD safety spokesman Mark McArthur-Christie. "So it's not surprising that they show ignorance of safe driving practice, and even less surprising that they eagerly embrace any policy that makes using a car unpleasant and so boosts the profits of their sponsors."
 
The ABD's strategy for better safety for children contrasts strongly with Transport 2000 in many areas, and shows how Transport 2000's lobbying has actually created many of the problems that it now seeks to solve with yet more restrictions on motorists.
 
  1. The ABD supports the building of new and better roads which separate traffic from pedestrians and cyclists. Transport 2000 have consistently lobbied against the construction of both bypasses and urban flyovers/underpasses, and celebrated when such lifesaving schemes are cancelled. They even put children at risk by tacitly supporting schemes which close subways and put children in conflict with traffic on surface crossings.
  2. The ABD recognises that the ability of drivers to read the road and constantly adjust speed so that they can avoid any child that runs out in front of them is paramount, but believes that the vast majority of drivers possess that ability and should be allowed to use it. Anti speed campaigners like Transport 2000 actually think it's a bad thing for drivers to be able to control their own speed — in effect they make hitting a child at the speed limit into a target.
  3. The ABD believes that speed limits should help drivers adjust their speed safely by being set at a level that is reasonable and consistent for similar road conditions. We support timed 20mph limits outside schools when children are arriving and leaving, for example. Transport 2000 support blanket low limits for social and political reasons, and these actually help prevent a driver from setting a safe speed.
  4. The ABD recognises that avoidance space is crucial when a child steps out in front of a car. Transport 2000, on the other hand, supports the removal of roadspace from cars using narrowings and build outs, which are dangerous to cyclists and which leave drivers nowhere to swerve to if a child steps out right in front of them.
  5. The ABD wants vehicular traffic to share roadspace — theres not enough of it to reserve bits for buses and taxis (though some bus lanes can smooth the flow). Whilst Transport 2000 want cars to be slowed, they want special lanes for buses so they can go faster -even though they are wider and less manoeverable. Presumably they dont hurt so much when they hit a child, because they are a politically correct form of transport.
  6. The ABD recognises that what matters is to see the child and avoid it rather than hit it at a slow speed. Transport 2000's lobbying has resulted in a confusing mass of signage, obstructions and garish markings collectively called "traffic calming" and designed to intimidate drivers. All it achieves is to enrage them and to prevent them from having a clear view of what matters — the child.
  7. The ABD wants the police to target dangerous, reckless, careless, drunk, drugged and unlicensed drivers, but Transport 2000's campaigning has led to them sitting on bridges issuing thousands of tickets to safe drivers, alienating them from the road safety process. In some cases, the number of traffic police has been reduced and traffic divisions have even been eliminated.
  8. The ABD want speed cameras to be strictly controlled so that they are only placed where exceeding the speed limit is demonstrably dangerous. Transport 2000 want them everywhere, forgetting that all they can really achieve when they are misused is to make cars hit children at the speed limit.
  9. The ABD want children to be self reliant and responsible, and to take pride in their skills in using the roads. We want them to carry this attitude forward into cycling and driving, as well as life in general. As children, ABD members would have found the "blame someone else" attitude shown by Transport 2000 demeaning and insulting.
  10. Above all, the ABD want to see drivers thinking about the way that they drive and taking pride in driving well. We want to see genuine encouragement from government for drivers to learn hazard perception and avoidance skills. Of course, Transport 2000 would find it harder to get drivers onto their buses if they actually enjoyed driving — or so they think!
"Transport 2000 like to portray the ABD and other campaigners against speed cameras as being anti safety," concludes ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries. "In reality, the contrast between the ABD's practical, reasonable and rational approach to improving safety and the emotional blackmail favoured by Transport 2000 speaks for itself."

 

 
Notes for Editors