More than 3,200 teenagers and young adults are getting specialist cycling and walking safety sessions to help cut collisions on our roads this winter.
Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has teamed up with West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) for the Every Choice Counts transition sessions, taking place during Road Safety Week.
The Every Choice Counts transition sessions provide vital road safety education to vulnerable road users.
The sessions are targeted at 11 to 24-year-olds and mix practical and theoretical knowledge to equip students with tips and support to help them feel confident and travel more safely during the darker winter months. In previous years, sessions have focused on the ‘fatal five’ elements that affect motorists; distraction, drink and drugs, speeding, not wearing seatbelts and mobile phone use.
But this year, following the increase in cycling and walking journeys since lockdown, the programme now encompasses safety education for when cycling and/or walking short journeys. The key messages are to ensure cyclists, pedestrians and drivers understand what their duty of care is when they are out on the road and what they need to be mindful of to keep themselves and others safe.
This approach incorporates bespoke, cutting-edge Virtual Reality scenarios, workshop discussions and exercises.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands said: “Across the West Midlands we have a commitment to improve safety for the increasing numbers of people cycling and walking.
“Initiatives like this one with our fire service partners are vital for building eveyone’s confidence and awareness of all road users, no matter how we travel, in order to keep each other safe. Alongside this we are also investing in new safe cycle routes around our region to further encourage more people to get on their bikes as it is a great way to travel for both the environment and our health.”
Watch Commander Adrian Spencer, of WMFS, said: "Working in partnership with TfWM allows us to push boundaries to improve the safety of thousands of road users across the region. The ‘Every Choice Counts’ transition sessions enable young drivers and passengers to develop skills for coping with risky situations and to become safe and responsible road users.”
Councillor Ian Ward, WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council added: “Road safety training like this is important to ensure that when we build new cycle lanes and roll out our cycle hire schemes as we have, that people have the confidence to get on a bike and give it a go. Cycling is a crucial part of our plans to reduce traffic congestion on our roads and cut our carbon emissions, and is a perfect alternative to the car for those shorter journeys around our towns and cities.”
This programme supports the West Midlands Regional Road Safety Strategy (WMRRSS) by targeting a 4% year-on-year reduction in the number of people who are Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) on our roads and was funded by the Active Travel Fund.