A New Year’s Resolution………..
As we start a New Year, we often reflect on the year which has just come to an end. As the news channels run their annual reviews, we get a compressed version of the year’s events and sometimes this can leave us shocked as to how many catastrophic events have occurred, how many lives have been lost, whether through war, natural disasters, health or other tragic circumstances, such as road deaths.
If you have ever lost a loved one, especially a partner, child, family member or good friend, you will have some idea of the indescribable depth of grief which you are left to deal with. Almost every single person who has died will leave behind someone whose heart has been broken by their loss. Yet it seems strange to me that the media can influence so dramatically, the way in which we respond to certain people’s deaths.
Earlier this year Roadpeace produced a leaflet called ‘Five-a-day’ http://www.roadpeace.org/resources/RoadPeace_Five_A_Day_2012.pdf highlighting how approximately five people each day are killed on our roads in the UK. For every one of those people there will be loved ones left behind, whose lives are devastated by the news and who have to come to terms with their loss, yet many barely get a mention in the local press. In November 2013 came the shocking news that 6 cyclists were killed on London’s roads in just fourteen days http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24989985 There was public outrage and a flurry of activity in the media and by both politicians and campaigners – and rightly so – but what about all the other road deaths? During that same fourteen day period approximately 64 other people would have been killed on our roads (based on the 5-a-day average). Why aren’t we shouting about them too? No doubt that many, if not all of them, were avoidable and guaranteed that every one of them left behind grief-stricken families and friends.
If you visit www.roadpeace.org you will find a running total of people killed throughout the world in the past year. As I write this on December 31st 2013 the total stands at 1,238,757 since Jan 1st 2013. It is a truly shocking statistic and one which we should be ashamed of. If we cared as much about every human life as we do about our own family and friends, our loved ones, would we take more care in what we do, how we drive, and what importance we give to safety? Of course we would! Sadly, however, we are too often so wrapped up in our own world and in too much of a hurry to even think about the dangers we create or the risks we take.
So how about this for a New Year’s Resolution – think of every pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist, driver on the road as though he/she was your loved one – the most precious and important person in your life. Every time you think of speeding, put your vehicle into reverse, are about to turn left or right or pull out of a junction, just imagine how you would feel if you, or anyone else, killed or seriously injured the person that you love more than anything in this world. I guarantee you it will make you drive more slowly, think more carefully before you manoeuvre and be a much more considerate road user…….
……. and if you get angry and frustrated at other road users who have not made the same resolution, why not direct that anger into supporting road safety campaigns run by organisations such as www.brake.org.uk www.busk-uk.co.uk www.rearview.org.uk www.roadpeace.org www.seemesaveme.com Let’s get the media to shout about the work that is being done every day behind the scenes, often by those who have lost loved ones themselves, to help make our roads safer and stop these preventable, tragic and untimely deaths