As this year’s Road Safety Week continues, hopefully many of us are thinking about our car use and making the effort to choose more sustainable methods of transport.
If a lot of us chose to walk or cycle instead of using our cars for short journeys then we’d be well on our way to combating the problem of congested and polluted roads – but these alternative methods of getting from A to B can often be dependent on the weather. Now that winter is approaching, some of us may not be as likely as we would be during the summer months to strap on our walking shoes or fetch our bikes from the shed, so maybe it’s time we gave our local buses, trains and trams a fair go.
Choosing public transport over car journeys is a key part of the Drive Less, Live More campaign, run by national road safety charity Brake for this year’s Road Safety Week.
Why Choose Public Transport
We’d be making a huge difference if we chose to use public transport instead of our cars, even just some of the time.
Our health would benefit as there’s nearly always a walk involved to our local bus stop or train station. According to a 2010 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, choosing public transport over cars increases physical activity so much that the average person can lose more than six pounds in a year.
Financial benefits are also gained by ditching our cars in favour of public transport. According to RAC research, car-owning households in the UK spend at least 31 per cent of their disposable income on their vehicles. If more of us chose to use buses, trams or trains then maybe we’d save some precious money too.
Choosing public transport is good for the planet too, as car use has major environmental consequences like reduced air quality and increased carbon emissions. According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, one per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions comes from transport. If more of us chose to use public transport instead of making individual car journeys then we’d be making a huge difference to the world around us.
With evidence suggesting that public transport has the potential to replace 21% of existing car journeys in UK urban areas, we hope that people will choose alternative ways of getting from A to B long after Road Safety Week is over. The Government could perhaps also do their bit by keeping fares as low as possible and by ensuring that public transport in the UK is safe.
Public Transport Safety
We have commented before on how public transport companies must prioritise public safety if we are ever going to become a society that chooses public transport over cars.
Ensuring that drivers are fit for the job and that buses, trains and trams are in proper order are essential both in avoiding collisions and reassuring people that they will be safe.
Another consideration in lowering the public transport accident risk is the use of seat belts. For example, although coaches and minibuses must now have seat belts fitted, the same is not required of buses because standing passengers are allowed. Brake offer advice about safety on buses – handy information for all of us choosing to use our local buses this Road Safety Week.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading personal injury law firm with many years of experience helping people claim compensation for injuries sustained on public transport.
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