Road accidents halve in Leeds, following lockdown

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Bradford Road, at Thornbury Roundabout Junction. Image: Google

Leeds saw the number of road accidents more than halve following the introduction of the government’s Covid-19 lockdown measures, a document has revealed, writes Richard Beecham.

A report, set to be discussed by Leeds City Council decision-makers this week, showed more than 200 fewer casualties on the district’s roads from the end of March onwards, compared with the same period in 2019.

The number of instances of killed and seriously injured (KSI) on the district’s roads also reduced, from 64 last year to just 33 in the same period in 2020.

The report added, however, that as lockdown restrictions ease, the number of serious accidents was beginning to increase once more, and warned that road users should be extra vigilant.

The document, set to go before the council’s executive board on Wednesday, states:

“Comparing road traffic casualties in the first 23 weeks of 2020 with last year shows that casualties are down by 40 percent compared to the same period in 2019 (from 785 to 473).

“From week 12 (late March), the total number of all casualties fell by 54 percent from 379 in 2019 to 176 in 2020, while those killed and seriously Injured (KSI) went down by 48 percent (64 in 2019 vs 33 in 2020).

“The number of weekly road casualties however is now starting to increase as lockdown eases. In week 23, more casualties were recorded in 2020 (23) compared to 2019 (18). In response, links are being made with the Road Safety Great Britain “Take Extra Care” campaign and we are discussing with the Police the resumption of the close pass initiative related to cycling and increased speed enforcement.”

Predictably, this followed a decrease in traffic levels, for which morning ‘peak flows’ were down 48 percent compared to the beginning of March. For the weekend of 6 and 7 June, traffic flows were down an average of 42 percent compared to the beginning of March and 42 percent on the same week in 2019.

It added: “These again represent the highest levels of weekend traffic since mid-March. These rising trends in traffic flows will continue to be monitored each week particularly in coming weeks when many shops will open across the city centre.”

The report will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wendesday, June 24.

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