Hundreds of people every year are injured as a result of collisions with animals according to the Department of Transport. Over 600 people were injured and 4 people died as a result of accidents that involve animals, last year. These figures don’t include accident with horses.
On driving lessons around Newbury, Thatcham, Basingstoke and the surrounding countryside I have encountered near misses with many animals and birds.
Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, said that a new sign that features a hedgehog would be placed in areas where accidents were the highest to warn road users of potential hazards ahead. He will be asking for assistance from animal welfare groups and local authorities to help locate the areas in greatest need.
The new signs are not only top help save the lives of road users but also to help the decline in the number of deaths to wild animals too. The number of hedgehogs has declined in the last 20 years to 50% of their former numbers.
The Transport secretary went on to say that The UK has one of the safest road networks in the world even though we are one of the most densely populated countries. However, we are always looking at improvements especially to the most vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists who are particularly at risk. The new signs would help to reduce the number of people seriously injured as well as helping the wildlife population. It’s not just wild animals that suffer but also domestic animals, especially cats that suffer.
Over a 12 year period, 14,000 people were injured and a further 100 were killed as a result of coming into contact with an animal.
Tony Campbell of “Motorcycle Industry Association” echoed those views by saying that 2 wheels is a great way to ease congestion on The UK’s crowded roads however they are also one of the most vulnerable. These new signs can help ease some of the problems and help those on 2 wheels and animals on 4 legs.
Members of “Brake”, “The AA”, “The RAC Foundation” and “Wildlife Trust” have also been involved in this new initiative. Jill Nelson of “People’s Trust for Endangered Species” also added her voice saying that road kill has long been a concern which is why they conducted their own survey.
Animals most at risk include; hedgehogs, squirrels, badgers, toads and otters as well as larger animals such as deer who pose possibly the biggest risk to motorists. So bear in mind as you drive around the country roads surrounding; Newbury, Thatcham and Basingstoke of the dangers you may encounter.