Sharp increase in casualties on Wirral’s roads

Figures show the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on Wirral’s roads surged in one year.

In 2020, 2021, and 2022, almost a third or 29% of casualties on Wirral’s roads were cyclists, a 12% increase from 2019. Pedestrian casualties were also 29% of all casualties in 2022, a 7% increase from 2021.

2022 statistics for Wirral show 102 people were casualties on the road. 78% of these were people who were cycling, walking, or motorcycling with five fatal accidents.

In terms of numbers, 30 cyclists, 30 pedestrians and 20 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured in Wirral. Of the 440 accidents in 2022, 382 involved a car driver. 102 involved cyclists with 85 of these accidents involving drivers.

Meanwhile, cycling usage has declined in the same period going from 15.1% cycling once a month to 9.6%, and only 5.8% cycled once a week according to Department of Transport data.

Casualty figures were revealed in a Wirral Council report as the local authority looks to discuss its road safety plan for the next four years, a policy aiming to reduce the number of casualties on Wirral’s roads.

This includes various improvements to road junctions, new 20mph zones, as well as an aim to get the number of people killed or seriously injured on Wirral’s roads down to zero. This is part of a wider Liverpool City Region strategy.

A number of proposals are part of the plans including adopting targets to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in the near future, reducing speed limits on main roads to ensure consistent speed limits, and reviews of crash sites.

The council is also looking to roll out the school streets scheme across Wirral. The scheme closes roads outside schools at peak times to improve safety and encourage children to walk or cycle to school.

The proposals for more 20mph zones have faced opposition with concerns raised by Conservative councillors in recent weeks despite previously voting for the policy. Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell has also said the police support the rollout and are working with the council.

However Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green councillors still support the move. Cllr Stuart Kelly in response to a resident angry about the new zones assured him that the 20mph scheme did not cover all roads and main roads would remain at 30mph or other existing limits.

He added, “Five deaths in Wirral may be seen by some drivers as a price worth paying (similar to the Americans believing the right to carry a gun trumps the hundreds of kids shot there on a regular basis), but sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ when we can do something about it is wrong.

“I don’t doubt some stretches of road will be a challenge … but we have to remember that first and foremost these roads are the place people live and try to bring up their families in a safe environment.

“I’ve noticed a number of people supporting 20mph limits in their roads but would prefer their commute route to be 30mph.

“The culture change will be massive but too many people are killed and seriously injured on the road and there is no acceptable minimum number of acceptable deaths to justify a preserved right to go fast on residential streets.

“We just need to get used to driving a bit slower.”

Image: People using the safer Fender Lane segregated cycle lane. Credit: Ed Lamb

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