Road safety warning as online Christmas shopping congests roads

Cyclist beside busy road

Be safe, be seen and slow your speed. Message to all road users as Christmas congestion increases.

23 November 2017

The dark days, Christmas shopping frenzy and additional delivery vehicles on our roads are a recipe for increased danger.

We have joined forces with the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in Road Safety Week to urge all road users to take extra care in the run up to Christmas.

Sadly there have already been a number of pedestrian and a cyclist fatality on Northern Ireland’s roads this month.

Both organisations have urged drivers to slow down and drive more carefully especially in busy built-up streets where there are additional shoppers about.

We would urge everyone to share our busy roads safely and be mindful that visibility is poorer at this time of year.

- Gordon Clarke, Sustrans

Equally pedestrians and people who cycle should be careful on the roads and if possible wear reflective or hi-vis clothing to increase their visibility, and ensure they have working lights.

Roads are particularly congested in urban areas at this time of year in part due to a large increase in commercial delivery vans as a result of the growth in online shopping.

According to the latest UK figures from the FTA, there are now 4.1 million vans on the road, with one in 10 vehicles on the road now a delivery van*. There has also been a large increase of vans working out of hours to cope with next day delivery orders*.

Seamus Leheny, FTA Policy Manager in Northern Ireland said: “As Christmas approaches more and more people will be visiting our city and town centres to shop and enjoy themselves but with that we will see an increase in delivery vehicles to ensure our shops and restaurants are supplied and online shopping is delivered on time. At a time when there are more trucks and especially more vans than ever on the roads, everyone should be mindful of the increased risks.”

Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “Road safety is of paramount concern to us. Losing someone in a road traffic accident is always tragic and particularly in the run up to Christmas. We would urge everyone to share our busy roads safely and be mindful that visibility is poorer at this time of year.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has worked with Sustrans to create the Safe Urban Driving course - a best practice training programme for lorry drivers to help prevent collisions with vulnerable road users in an urban environment. Further courses are planned for 2018.

*Figures cited from the FTA’s Van Excellence Report 2017/18.

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