The SAFE campaign, coming soon to a street near you

Merton joined the ranks of 29 other European cities such as Vienna, Helsinki, Prague and Lyon earlier this month to sign the European Road Safety Charter in the City Hall of London. Merton pledges to contribute to reaching the European target of halving the number if road accident victims by 2010, particularly by introducing cycling practise guidelines and safe training, child pedestrian training, learner driver skills for 16-17 year olds and visits to schools to encourage better behaviour on roads.

Merton Councillor Russell Makin and Merton Council’s Senior Transport Planner Paulo Camara attended and signed the European Road Safety Charter, which was also attended by three other London Boroughs Bromley, Camden and Ealing. Merton Council’s initiative of implementing measures going beyond the regulatory requirements in force are in the areas of cycling and the education of young pedestrians and drivers. Merton Council will aim to target school children in all borough schools, offering cycling courses, bike maintenance, pedestrian training skills, driving theory and lessons, and general road safety knowledge.

The city networks ACCESS-EUROCITIES & POLIS deal with urban transport issues, and are concerned with the number if accidents and injuries occurring on European roads. Although the number of road deaths has almost halved in the past 30 years, 40,000 fatalities and 1.7 casualties still take place in the 15 EU countries every year. As coordinators of the Safety Actions for Europe (SAFE) campaign, they are among the first stakeholders to sign the European Road Safety Charter of the European Commission on 6 April in Dublin. The SAFE campaign aims to halve the number of road accident victims by 2010.

Rob Moran, Merton Council’s Head of Regeneration said: ‘By targeting children at schools, we are hoping to encourage safe road behaviour at an early age which will mould their attitude towards traffic safety in the future. We are extremely proud to be part of the European Road Safety Charter and will work our hardest to fulfill the aims and help decrease the number of road accidents in Merton.’