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It’s Road Safety Week 2012
Friday 16th November, 2012

It’s safe to assume most people are aware of the annual Christmas ‘Drink Drive’ messages. But officers at Wigan Council want to ensure that all road users – as well as vulnerable pedestrians – are equipped for a safe winter.

“The council takes its responsibilities for road safety very seriously,” says cabinet lead for the environment Cllr Kevin Anderson. “And staff are continuing to take that message into our communities.”

During road safety week (starts Monday 19th), road safety officers will be giving presentations at Woodfield School in Atherton, as well as Lowton High and at Wigan and Leigh College where they will be discussing the dangers of drug driving with students. They are also preparing for the launch of the Christmas drink drive message which will happen in a striking way in Wigan town centre on 1st December.

“You are invited to a crash,” says Cllr Anderson. “Colleagues in the blue light services will be staging a vehicle crash simulation in the centre of town. College students will play the parts of drink drivers and they will be cut from wrecked cars in real time as people look on. It’s dramatic, but I hope, brings home the effects of drink driving to everyone watching.”

The Christmas drink drive message across Greater Manchester is themed ‘Dicing with Death’, and the staged crash will illustrate that vividly. However, officers are keen to ensure that all road users are safe in the dark winter months.

2011 saw 75 people killed on the roads of Greater Manchester. This was an increase of 42 per cent on the previous year and reversed a long downward trend in road deaths. A particular concern in the region is the number of bikers – motor and pedal – involved in accidents. There have been 12 fatalities and 44 serious injuries in the last 5 years where larger vehicles have hit bikes.

Inspector Paul Rowe from GMP’s Roads Policing Unit says: “Visibility is the key factor in many traffic accidents and cyclists and bikers can increase theirs by good road positioning, ensuring they use front and rear lights and wearing high-vis clothing.”

Cllr Anderson adds that everyone – pedestrians and drivers like – can ensure they avoid being involved in accidents. “Be safe and be seen,” he adds. “Dark coats on dark nights aren’t always the best choice – and hoods are great to keep warm, but may restrict visibility and impair your hearing. Together, making sensible choices, we can keep the accident rate down and all have a safe Christmas.”

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