Many people enjoy our country roads in Northamptonshire whether that be in a car, on a bike, on foot, or horseback. However per mile travelled, country roads are the most dangerous for all types of road users. As such road safety regularly features as a high priority concern in rural locations, since rush hour often sees otherwise sleepy villages transformed into rat runs; bringing with it speeding traffic and large heavy goods vehicles; while school drop off and collection times can create hazardous situations when parents park thoughtlessly and sometimes illegally. The Northamptonshire Safer Roads Team was formed in April 2011 by Northamptonshire Police to address road safety concerns and make Northamptonshire’s roads safer.
Road safety charity, Break, advise: "While country roads sometimes appear empty, they are full of unexpected hazards. Even if you know the road well, you never know what's round the corner. That's why slowing down is vital: it enables you to react to the unexpected, such as a cyclist or walker, an animal running out, or debris in the road."
"Country roads are shared spaces used by pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, farm vehicles and animals. Most are narrow with blind corners and bends, and have no pavements or cycle paths. As such, drivers should drive as though someone or something could be round any corner, staying well under limits, acknowledging that 60mph is too fast for safety, and slowing right down for bends, brows and other hazards, whenever visibility or conditions are poor, and slowing to 20mph in villages and around homes and schools. Drivers should also avoid overtaking, unless absolutely essential and 100% safe: unless you need to pass a very slow moving vehicle, and are certain you can get past safely, it's not worth the risk."
One of the initiatives currently used in Northamptonshire to target speeding is a scheme known as Community Speedwatch.
Community Speed Watch is a volunteer programme, run between the Police, Northamptonshire County Council and Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE). The program aims to increase the awareness of the dangers of speeding through education. Drivers detected for speeding receive a Police Warning letter and their records are held to identify any repeat offenders. The initiative already has well over 400 volunteers trained countrywide. The current format consists of 6 groups with up to 12 communities in each. These groups are trained and operate roadside for a 6 week period, week on week off, with a speed gun device.
Before and after this period there is a week of speed data collection. There is then a planned programme of Interactive Signage (VAS - Vehicle Activated Signs), visits from the Speed Indicator Team (SID), Speed Awareness Signs and Police support with enforcement.
To join the scheme each community will need:
The coordinator is the main point of contact for the scheme, who helps arrange the enforcement timetable and equipment swap overs with your local partner group.
The deputy coordinates fills in for the co-ordinator in his/her absence.
Community Speed Watch work alongside other trained residents during roadside enforcement sessions, using the speed detection equipment and recording vehicle details for offending vehicles.
We ask for pledges of support from your local community to ensure that there is a good level of support for a local Community Speedwatch. Northamptonshire Police are able to assist with collating this support.
The training is a 3 hour session which consists of both practical and classroom elements. Once you are trained you are covered by a form of insurance whilst you are volunteering for Community Speedwatch. There is no requirement for you to repeat this training each year, however refresher training is welcomed.
Should you need further information or wish to join Community Speed Watch please contact our Safer Roads Engagement Team on 101 ext 348132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Plans are very much underway to expand Speedwatch into Community Roadwatch in order to be more inclusive of road related issues wider than just speeding, to issues such as HGV weight limits and inconsiderate/illegal parking.
Click here to be kept informed of progress
* Please note, exemptions may apply for local access to weight-restricted areas for the purposes of:
Northamptonshire contains some of the top motorcycle riding A and B class roads in the country but all this comes with the responsibility of sharing the same roads with other road users, especially so in the summer months.
Sadly many bikers are caught out each year on our roads. And while the number of bike journeys are low compared to our four-wheeled friends the risk of having a bike accident is still statistically high.
It doesn’t matter how you look at it or view the figures: most of our serious bike accidents occur as a result of rider error. It might be going too fast for the circumstances, riding too close or making a bad decision, like overtaking when it’s not safe to do so, with a relatively minor error ending with significantly higher consequences.
BikeSafe workshops are being run by Northamptonshire Police. All of the officers assisting on BikeSafe are Police Class 1 Advanced riders from the Force’s Operations Department, accredited for delivery of BikeSafe.
The sessions are run in conjunction with Northantamptonshire Fire and Rescue, who provide the First Aid and First at Scene packages. Followed by the Bikesafe package, then two assessed rides with a lunch stop in between.
The hope is for all riders to have a good day and pick up or brush up on their riding skills.
The whole purpose of BikeSafe is to reduce casualties among bikers by passing on tips and knowledge, to give you an insight to safer, smoother riding, and a heightened awareness of possible hazards.
It is our hope that BikeSafe will encourage you to progress to formal training in the future.
BikeSafe Northamptonshire is a one day (Saturday or Sunday) complete package run from Northamptonshire Police Headquarters, located at Block C, Mereway, Northampton NN4 8BH.
For more information and 2015 course dates please visit: http://www.bikesafe.co.uk/locate-a-force/northamptonshire
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