Apart from saving lives by means of enforcement and obliging many errant drivers to drive more safely, highly-trained police motorcycle officers often help save lives in other ways, too.
This team of three are from the Netherlands, and this spectacular video brought back good memories from my own years on this job, in Britain. It gives a very good insight into this relatively rare task of facilitating the fastest possible, safe conveyance of a critically ill or injured person to the most appropriate hospital.
This excellent video from French road safety (sécurité routière) has only one slight failing. It uses the word “accident” — something that is being actively discouraged in the road safety world as providing an empty excuse that many people cling to, as in: “It wasn’t my/his/her fault, it was an accident!”
That aside, do watch this powerful and accurate video:
While it is something one might reasonably expect only in relation to poorer, “third-world” countries, the United States of America fails to do well in any of the legislative requirements to achieve basic standards of road safety, as outlined in the most-recent edition of the Global Status Report on Road Safety, by the World Health Organisation [WHO].
When I first attended the United Nations in Geneva, about 11 years ago, to listen to the plans for significantly curtailing road deaths globally, I came away not only impressed but also with the distinct impression that given what was, by then, a huge growth in the numbers of motor vehicles in poorer countries, the aim would be to prevent the annual number of deaths rising as global motorization grew. The yearly death toll was then stated as 1.3 million but this figure was projected to rise to 2 million by 2020, thus holding it steady at 1.25 to 1.3 million instead of seeing such a horrendous increase would be a good thing.
In pursuit of Vision Zero, LA is introducing what California (and the USA?) is calling scramble crosswalks, at which all traffic is stopped simultaneously while pedestrians can cross the intersection in any direction, including diagonally.
Although speeding is one of the most common factors in motor vehicle crashes in the USA, it is an underappreciated problem, involved in about 10,000 highway fatalities each year according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
I’ve been triggered into writing this by an old post on the same topic that I’ve just seen and replied to, on the Allstate Safe Driving Blog.
By no means are all “safe driving” writers always accurate enough!
With no disrespect to Allstate or the writer of the piece, it was clearly written by someone with only a reasonable knowledge of the issue himself, despite having referenced various sources. I say this because there were a couple of inclusions which are very questionable.
The first of these was about using the “emergency brake” — a highly inappropriate name for the parking brake — to help stop the vehicle, and my response to that point is shown in my reply to Allstate, below. Having said that, a handbrake is a dramatically safer option that a foot-operated parking brake because, with the button held in, it can be applied much more accurately and released instantaneously without extra risk.