Just like London buses, my Days of Note seem to be arriving all at once – this is the third in ten days! OK, London buses are a little more frequent than that, but you get the idea. And they do provide a very tenuous link to my subject. This piece comes with an apology to the large number of you who will be viewing this from outside the UK, as I think this one is specific to us – but I know there are times when a similar event is marked in many other places, so please keep it in mind as the message is equally relevant wherever you are in the world.
I expected this year to drag for me but tomorrow it is going to be August! Wow, not long now (see countdown top left)! In the UK August is marked as National Road Victims Month by the RoadPeace organisation, whose website carries details of this and their other campaigns. As they say on their site, August is a particularly appropriate time to remember those who have died on the roads because:
- Mary Ward was killed in Ireland on 31 August 1869. She was a scientist, who fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car.
- Bridget Driscoll was the first person killed in the UK by a car, on 17 August 1896, in Crystal Palace, London
- Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash on 31 August 1997, in Paris
- there is increased risk of children being injured or killed while on holiday from school
- there is increased risk of those travelling on holiday being involved in a car crash
Events will be taking place in Liverpool, Manchester and at the National Memorial Arboretum and no doubt there will be media coverage to remind us all to drive safely. It is easy to forget when you’re sitting behind the wheel, but vehicles can be lethal weapons in the wrong hands. The first dead person I saw, when I was about 9 or 10, was someone knocked off his bike and run over – quite literally – by a lorry right outside the coffee bar where I was sitting with my dad in my favourite window seat, having lunch. The image has stayed with me, and I think it always will. Like many, I would imagine, I’ve lost a couple of friends to road accidents, so we can all relate to this message.
And in case you think this isn’t as important a message as some of the health and illness Days of Note that I’ve featured, here are a couple of reasons why it is. Firstly, this is part of a screenshot from RoadPeace’s site, taken on 28 July:
Secondly, here is a link to a post from my lovely friend Gemini a couple of days ago, about the causes of death. I know this isn’t a very cheerful thought, but just look at the number of road deaths, and how they have increased by 30% in the past ten years or so:
Comparing those two sets of statistics it doesn’t seem as though the figure will be decreasing any time soon. Take care. Be aware. Be safe.