On 20th September 2017 Liverpool City Council passed a motion presented by Councillors Sarah Jennings, Lawrence Brown, Tom Crone and Anna Key
“Council applauds the efforts of the Vision Zero campaign to make road safety a high priority in towns and cities around the world.
Vision Zero is based upon the belief that zero is the only acceptable number of deaths and serious injuries in the road traffic environment. It recognises that we humans make mistakes that can end in tragedy while driving and so places the onus of avoiding such tragedies on all those responsible for the total road traffic system.
Council recognises the work undertaken by this authority in recent years to invest in its highways, but notes that the number of deaths and serious injuries due to traffic incidents remains stubbornly high and that since 2010 Merseyside has witnessed a 12% increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured on its roads.
Further, it is widely recognised that working alone, a local authority cannot achieve the desired outcome of zero deaths and serious injuries on its highway network and that joint working among relevant agencies is necessary to tackle the many elements that lead to collisions.
Council therefore welcomes the positive action by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside to add a fifth item to her list of priorities, namely to “work in partnership to improve road safety”.
Council also notes that the Liverpool City Region Mayor has transport, planning, and investment within his portfolio and is in an ideal position to drive forward the aims of the Vision Zero campaign across the region.
Liverpool prides itself for having been a trailblazer for public health for centuries. As a modern, forward-thinking city we are willing to look at sustainable solutions to health problems facing a growing city, such as, among others, the increased risk of collision between motor vehicle and pedestrian that comes with increasing population and visitor numbers, along with poor air quality: problems which can be substantially addressed through the implementation of concepts such as Vision Zero.
Liverpool should stand as a forerunner with other major cities in the UK such as Manchester and London, Edinburgh and Bristol, and cities and countries around the world including Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, New York, Boston, Toronto and others in embracing this aim.
Council therefore requests the City Mayor to work alongside the Liverpool City Region Mayor, the Police and Crime Commissioner and all relevant agencies in committing support for the aims of the Vision Zero campaign and developing a strategy to achieve the goal of reducing the number of killed and seriously injured on the city’s roads.”
One of the sponsors of the Motion, Green Councillor Lawrence Brown commented:
It’s fair to say that judging by its highways record over the past 5 years or so, Liverpool wouldn’t be the obvious choice for a trailblazing adoption of Vision Zero and everything that means. Removal of almost all of the bus, cycle and taxi lanes combined with the payment of lip service to cycling and walking in the five year, £80 million refurb of the key highways doesn’t create the right mood music for an authority demonstrating a commitment to reducing deaths and serious injuries on the roads. And oh, what a record! Merseyside, dominated by Liverpool, remains worst in Great Britain for pedestrians killed or seriously injured – and worst for child cyclists killed or seriously injured, with a rate five times that of London’s. The figures are creeping upwards when the trend urgently needs to be reversed. The data screams at you, demanding attention to cure the chronic disease of harm to human beings perpetrated by motor vehicles.
But every long trek starts with a single step. Passing a motion at the full Council meeting is certainly a strong indicator that the authority takes the matter seriously. Now it needs to demonstrate that actions speak louder than words, listening to those who have experience of VZ and acting in ways which encourage people to travel safely and sustainably. Will Liverpool succeed in pursuing this far reaching goal? Only time will tell…