Our ambition is that by 2040 no one will be killed or suffer serious injuries on roads in Leeds.
We call this Vision Zero.
Remembering the people who have lost their lives on roads in Leeds.
Road crashes kill people, devastate families and ruin health. They destroy lives, hopes, futures. The toll on victims and their loved ones is inconceivable.
In the five years to 2021, in spite of our collective efforts, road crashes in Leeds killed 93 people and seriously injured another 1,561 (1,654 in total), an annual average of 331 people brutally killed or seriously injured while using our roads. Most of them (62%) were on foot, on a bike, or riding a motorbike or powered two-wheeled vehicles, and many of those were children or young people.
It has got to stop.
Around the world, cities are pioneering a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger. This is the ethical position that that no one should die or suffer serious injury from using roads. Leeds is the first in West Yorkshire to adopt this, and the Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 is our own ambition to eliminate fatal and serious road injuries from our city within the next 18 years.
To achieve Vision Zero, we must take a different approach. This stresses that responsibility for safety lies not just with road-users, but also with those who plan, design, decide, invest, legislate, prioritise, build, maintain, enforce, educate or otherwise shape the wider traffic environment; those who may not be
at the scene of a crash, but who help to
Road crashes that result in death or serious injury typically involve motor vehicles. As well as preventing violent deaths and serious injuries, Vision Zero aims to create a road environment and traffic culture where people feel that it’s safe to cycle, safe to let their children walk to school, safe to travel in cleaner, greener, healthier ways on roads that are (and feel) free from danger, roads that cherish human life.
Vision Zero will underpin a virtuous circle of more people choosing not to drive in the first place. It will support our Transport Strategy’s aim to be a ‘city where you don’t need a car’ and support our efforts to cut harmful carbon emissions as part of our response to the climate emergency.
If we work together as professionals, the public, partners and politicians, we can eliminate the scourge of road tragedies from the streets of Leeds.
Despite significant improvement over recent years, people are still dying or suffering serious injury on roads in Leeds. West Yorkshire Police are committed to working with our partners to deliver our collective ambition of eliminating road deaths and serious injury across the county. We welcome the adoption of a Vision Zero strategy in Leeds, and we will work better locally to understand the issues that undermine the safety of roads, and we will help to develop solutions.
Vision Zero is an opportunity to examine the whole traffic system that keeps road-users mobile, ranging from roads, vehicles and speeds to our attitudes and behaviours. System-based solutions minimise the risk of collisions happening, while acknowledging that people make mistakes, and improve survivability when a collision does occur. This is the essence of the Vision Zero strategy, in contrast with more traditional approaches, which relied on interventions in the aftermath of a collision.
Safer roads are a Policing and Crime Plan priority. West Yorkshire Police deploys specialist roads policing officers across districts, as well as local officers in communities. They tackle the known risk factors often associated with collisions and anti-social driver behaviour: excessive and inappropriate speed, drink and drug driving, distraction (such as mobile phone use) and seatbelt offences.
Sharing information sources across agencies increases understanding of the times, locations, vehicles and, in some cases, the individuals that present the greatest risk to other road-users. This information will continue to influence police deployment decisions.
Working with the public across Leeds, we have embedded Operation SNAP (Safer Roads Media Submission Portal), taking positive action against more than 1,500 offending drivers captured on dashcams. Using this and other enforcement activity, we will continue to improve driver behaviour with driver retraining courses where appropriate as an alternative to court proceedings, with recourse to prosecution for more serious or repeat offending. West Yorkshire Police will continue to work closely with the local authorities through the West Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership to develop the use of safety cameras to prevent speed related collisions.
Road collisions should not be a consequence of increased mobility. Safety fears undermine confidence and dissuade people from walking, cycling and using other forms of active, healthy or more sustainable travel. Where collisions do occur, there is a significant and enduring consequence, particularly where lives are lost or changed for ever and families destroyed.
The adoption of Vision Zero and a Safe System approach to road safety in Leeds provides an opportunity to safeguard all road-users and promote safe mobility across our communities. By working proactively to identify and remove dangers on the roads, we can mitigate the risks associated with the transport system and those who use it. A greater understanding of road danger and the development of co-ordinated interventions across all stakeholders will help us to cut the risk of collisions, increase community confidence and promote safer, more active and sustainable travel.
Vision Zero represents a real opportunity to bring about significant changes to the way that we work together to make the roads safer for everyone.
Until 2013, deaths and serious injuries from road crashes in Leeds had been steadily falling. That decline has, though, now plateaued, and around 331 people continue to be killed or seriously injured every year (average of the five years to 2021). We know that we must do something different.
In October 2021, Leeds City Council adopted the Leeds Transport Strategy. This signalled a step change in our approach to travel. It included the following bold ambition:
The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership then developed this Vision Zero 2040 strategy. This strategy outlines the existing and emerging issues facing the city and explains how we will attain our stated ambition by taking an entirely new approach. While ‘zero’ road deaths or serious injuries can’t come soon enough, it will take time for Leeds to develop, fund and deliver this new approach, and the partnership agreed to aim for 2040.
The following guiding principles, core elements and the five ‘pillars’ (themes) will scaffold our work.
Vision Zero is an ethical position that starts from the premise that no one should ever come to serious harm while using the roads. It rejects traditional year-on-year ‘casualty reduction’ targets; the only acceptable number is ‘zero’. Vision Zero has been trialled by several cities around the world, and Leeds is the first city in West Yorkshire to adopt it. Achieving Vision Zero will help Leeds to achieve its ‘Best City’ priorities around climate change, health and wellbeing and inclusive growth.
Traditional approaches to road safety assume that people can be taught, persuaded or compelled to behave safely. A Safe System approach is different. It accepts that while road-users should behave safely and legally, people do sometimes make mistakes, and that some mistakes lead to crashes. This premise helps us to see more clearly what needs to be done:
Responsibility for road safety thus extends to anyone who plays a part in shaping the wider traffic environment, as well as the road-users themselves. Those who plan, design, decide, invest, legislate, prioritise, build, maintain, enforce, educate and so on are responsible for ensuring that roads are safe for everyone to use. Acting together, they can reduce traffic risk and create a safe, holistic mobility system that is forgiving of human error and eliminates serious harm.
The way we talk about road danger affects how we understand the issues. That, in turn, influences what we decide to do. For example, we don’t refer to ‘vulnerable road-users’, because that suggests that there is something inherently problematic about some individuals and prevents us from seeing the wider picture. An older pedestrian isn’t more at risk because they walk slowly: they are at risk because the traffic lights change too quickly. We will use plain English and follow best practice guidelines from the World Health Organisation and the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy. This will help us all to identify problems, choose effective solutions and increase wider support for Vision Zero. We will develop plain language guidelines to share with partners.
Our Safe System is split into five ‘pillars’. Each pillar has a strategic set of objectives from which the action and delivery plan follow. These pillars all work together as a safety net so that, if someone makes a mistake, that mistake doesn’t result in a death or life-changing injury. If one part of the system fails – if, for example some traffic lights are not working, a car breaks down, a child dashes out or someone stumbles – the other parts should, in a functioning Safe System, unite to avert tragedy.
We will encourage road-users to behave in a way that keeps everyone safe. The focus is on the ‘fatal five’: speeding (which has its own pillar), seatbelt offences, drink and drug driving, distraction and careless driving. This pillar reflects the Highway Code Hierarchy of Road-users, namely that those who have the potential to do the greatest harm bear the greatest responsibility to reduce the threat they may pose to others.
Speeding is when drivers choose to exceed the speed limit or to drive too fast for the conditions. With partners, we will address illegal, dangerous and inappropriate speeds. This will include targeted enforcement, improving speed compliance through design and innovation and encouraging safe traffic culture. We will consider reducing speed limits on faster roads to 50mph.
We will design streets that put the needs of people and communities above those of vehicles. That means creating streets that are safer for active travel through design, implementing a network of safer routes to create environments that make people safe and measures to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles. This will make it easier for people to travel in greener, healthier ways.
We will encourage the use of safer vehicles to reduce the likelihood of collisions and severity of outcome. Work will include raising awareness about responsibility for roadworthy vehicles, enforcing offences and considering how technology and design features can help to prevent crashes.
The response following a collision can make a significant difference to outcome severity. Early intervention, care and support can help victims and families. We will learn from the devastating harm crashes cause, raise awareness of support services for victims and others impacted and advocate for justice for victims of road collisions where there is crime or other culpability.
The strategy supports many of the council’s wider aims around climate change, health and wellbeing and inclusive growth.
Road crashes typically involve motor vehicles, but most (62%) victims are on foot, on a bike, or riding a powered two-wheeler (such as a motorbike, scooter or moped).
Pedestrians in some wards are at greater risk than those in others – many things may influence this correlation, including population density, traffic volumes and how people mostly travel (whether they tend to walk or drive), and people may be harmed on the roads where they live, in the city centre, or some miles away.
, and we will monitor any further insights into this. Vision Zero will help to address the city’s inequity in relation to exposure to road danger and the disparity in opportunities for safe journeys.
Funding for Vision Zero will be met by a range of statutory, grant and other revenue-generation streams.
Local authority funding for road safety initiatives is included as part of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) funding settlement. This covers funding for schemes to address past road traffic collisions and unmet demand for pedestrian crossing provision. Ongoing work on the CRSTS with West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) has identified a funding stream for Safer Roads of approximately £1.7m pa over the next 5 years.
Funding for behaviour change programmes often relies on grants and bids, and Leeds City Council officers will identify relevant funding opportunities.
The council allocates revenue funding for staff to work on education / training such as pedestrian skills, and to deliver events and programmes. To achieve Vision Zero, we will need to go far beyond those areas covered as ‘business as usual’. This will include the work of the Highways and Transportation Service as well as many other teams and services across the council. It is expected that significant investment by partners, businesses, local and central government will be required, certainly beyond the levels provided to date. A council-wide review of spending will therefore be required.
The West Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership manages costs recovered from driver retraining courses (drivers may be offered the chance to attend these as an alternative to prosecution). It uses these to sustain and develop the scope of safety camera operations and other additional initiatives to prevent road danger. West Yorkshire Police acknowledge that, while stakeholders will identify opportunities for additional funding, existing funding needs to be realigned with an increasingly collaborative approach to problem-solving in our communities.
Crashes disrupt the road network and incur significant economic costs. Emergency services, medical treatment, long-term care, impact on employment and productivity are just some of the financial burdens of road danger on society. The Department for Transport (DfT) reported that, in 2020, every fatality prevented could have saved just under £2 million and every serious injury that is averted saves around £215,000.
While ‘zero’ is the explicit goal, the Best Council Plan KPI ‘Number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions’ will help us to monitor the impact of the Safe System approach as we develop and implement it. We will also track changes such as attitudes, awareness, understanding and intention in relation to Vision Zero, to help us to understand wider cultural and social trends.
We have set up a panel of external experts to help to inform the partnership’s work. The panel comprises a broad range of stakeholders with personal, academic and/or professional expertise and interest in road danger. As well as being ‘critical friends’, they will be able to contribute directly to the work we do.
To recognise best practice in road safety, we will recommend the development of a Vision Zero kitemark or similar scheme to the West Yorkshire Safe Roads Partnership. This could, for example, highlight safe street design, celebrate businesses that introduce safe driver practices or share innovative behaviour change initiatives.
While there is already a wide range of work taking place, everyone must work together to create and deliver a truly Safe System for Leeds. As well as the police and highway authority, every road-user, partner and other stakeholder must also do everything in their power to contribute to the goal of eliminating fatal and serious injuries.
Vision Zero will be led by the Leeds Safe Roads Partnership (LSRP), which coordinates the teams, departments and agencies associated with road safety activities in Leeds, working collaboratively and innovatively. It includes representatives from:
LSRP sub-groups will discuss and deliver specific projects and activities (education, for example). The partnership will liaise with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, West Yorkshire Safe Roads Partnership groups, and with a broad range of stakeholders, including the Expert Panel.
We need to secure the support and trust of everyone in Leeds if we are to achieve our ambition. As a partnership, we already work closely with many residents and businesses. We recognise however that it is important to find new ways to identify and engage with local and regional groups and organisations. This is so that we can ensure that our efforts are fair and inclusive. We need to ensure that our work effectively reduces road danger for everyone, particularly those who are most at risk.
We will identify opportunities for students to do work placements around Vision Zero and for researchers interested in following/supporting our ambition.
The Combined Authority is leading the development of a Vision Zero Strategy for West Yorkshire. This will be an overarching document for the region; districts will develop their own strategies to address the specific issues they face. The first draft is expected by mid-2023.
WYCA’s newly established Vision Zero Board (December 2021) is chaired by the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime. The board will help to advocate and foster commitment for Leeds Vision Zero 2040, providing democratic overview and a shared road safety ambition at a regional level. Board representatives from Leeds include the Chief Officer, Highways and Transportation and the Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate.
Local people are among those who are best placed to alert us to road safety issues in their neighbourhoods, though different people have different ideas about to resolve these. There is a frustration about the disconnect between what people witness or experience on their streets and conventional methods of defining and assessing traffic risk. These methods are traditionally based on casualty figures. These statistics help engineers to see where work could reduce casualty numbers, but they do not account for the fact that pedestrians and cyclists avoid dangerous roads altogether – low casualty figures do not necessarily mean a road is safe for people to walk or cycle. Local knowledge can help to build a more holistic picture.
People have told us that it is difficult to find information about road safety and where responsibility for different issues lies. We will launch a Leeds Safe Roads Partnership website to outline responsibilities, share data and contact details, and provide a way to suggest ways to improve road safety.
We will find better ways to communicate, so that communities are reassured that their concerns are being considered, while being well informed about how work is prioritised. We will strive to hear from groups of people whose views are under-represented: victims, young people, those from minority backgrounds, women and others who may be less likely to share their concerns.
We will also work with national bodies to ensure best practice in our Vision Zero journey. These include:
Road Safety Great Britain (RSBG) is a national membership organisation that aims to reduce the number and severity of road collisions, and reduce loss of life and personal injury, by raising awareness of road safety and safer road-user behaviour. The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership regularly makes use of RSGB’s training, conferences, advice, information, research and publicity resources.
Think! is the UK government’s designated road safety campaign, providing resources and materials that we can use to challenge dangerous behaviours on the roads. It also creates and provides educational resources for schools and communities.
Modeshift helps business, education and community settings switch to safe, active and sustainable travel. Leeds City Council uses Modeshift STARS with schools in Leeds to encourage healthy, safe and sustainable travel choices.
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) is a registered charity that supports the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Transport Safety. Its charitable objective is “To protect human life through the promotion of transport safety for the public benefit”. PACTS brings together safety professionals and legislators to identify research-based solutions to transport safety problems, and we can use these to inform our work. Its functions also include lobbying for and providing wider publicity on transport safety issues.
Data is information. It can be:
We will need to consider what information we choose to gather (or has been available), and why, what it means, and what we can do within the constraints of the law and national guidance. We will also identify what further data will help us to achieve Vision Zero.
There are three broad categories of injury severity: slight, serious and fatal. Fatal and serious injuries are often referred to together as ‘killed or seriously injured’ (KSI).
When a collision happens, the police who attend record information using a ‘Stats-19’ form and pass this to Leeds City Council. We compile and validate this and submit it to the Department for Transport (DfT).
Though injuries have always been pre-defined as ‘slight’ or ‘serious’, reporting police officers were, until April 2021, responsible for recording this accurately. A broken finger, for example, has always been ‘serious’, but officers may have mistakenly recorded it as ‘slight’. To ensure consistency in reporting, police now use the Collision Reporting and Sharing System (CRaSH). They choose from a list of the most common traffic-related injuries, and the system automatically categorises the injury according to severity. CRaSH improves accuracy and ensures wider consistency of data-collection across the force. In practice, this means that many less catastrophic (but nonetheless serious) injuries are now correctly documented as ‘serious’.
The DfT is publishing adjusted data that estimates how many pre-2021 injuries might, had CRaSH been in use at the time, have been recorded as serious rather than slight. The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership has agreed to refer to the unadjusted data for the time being, because this is what has informed our casualty maps, analysis and actions to date. We will soon have access to the full set of adjusted data, and we will switch to this as soon as possible.
The police collect other data that they share with us. For example:
Leeds City Council has a network of automatic traffic counters that provide speed and vehicle classification data. This can, for example, show how many people are driving over the speed limit on local roads.
We use the data available to us to help understand as much as we can about who is at risk, where, and what / whom from.
Deaths and injuries have devastating and lasting impacts on victims, their families, friends and wider communities. No traffic-related injuries are acceptable. For Vision Zero, we will focus initially on creating a Safe System that eliminates fatal and serious injuries. These actions will also help to prevent ‘slight’ injuries, and these will still be considered, for example during investigations and infrastructure programmes.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both traffic volumes and crash rates. KSI figures for the first 11 weeks of 2020 were well below those for the equivalent period in 2019 and remained lower than the 2019 figures for the remainder of the year despite increases in traffic volumes as restrictions eased. The KSI total in 2020 (231) is the lowest recorded in Leeds since at least 1979.
Most of those who are killed or seriously injured (66%) are outside a vehicle. Car occupants are protected to a degree by the vehicle’s body and safety design features. The exposed human body offers no such protection, and crashes kill or seriously harm more people who are walking, cycling or riding powered two-wheelers (such as motorbikes, scooters and mopeds) than car occupants.
The roads present different kinds of risks – and different levels of risk – to people of different ages. The roads are particularly dangerous for children, young adults and older people. Children, young people and older people are disproportionately represented in victim data, and there is an alarming spike in the number of crashes that kill or seriously injure children and young teens as they start to walk independently.
When a crash occurs, the reporting police officer records up to six ‘contributory factors’ within the current Stats-19 form from a list of 78. These fall into nine categories. The officer also indicates whether they think each factor is ‘very likely’ or ‘possible’.
It is important to note that these reflect the reporting police officer’s judgement at the time. In-depth investigations into fatal crashes may, at a much later date, reveal a different story (detectives can get evidence from a driver’s phone, for example.) We do not have sight of this and rely on the police officer’s interpretation.
The table refers to the pre-2020 options available to officers. The DfT has recently reviewed these. In future reports, we will be able to use updated terminology, which focuses on what can be done to improve road safety, reflecting our own commitment to ‘Safe System’ thinking.
Regionally, crashes killed or seriously injured slightly fewer people in Leeds (per billion vehicles travelled) than the average for West Yorkshire.
|Local Authority||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||% change from 2010|
Unadjusted data from RAS30040: Casualty rate per billion vehicle miles and kilometres by local authority: England
Who and what is causing harm to others
When police attend a crash where someone is injured, they fill in a form. This prompts them to record details such as the victim’s age, time, date, location, and brief circumstances (as understood by the officer at the time). The reports do not tell us anything about those behind the wheel, unless they were injured and therefore a ‘casualty’.
While this helps identify those people who are most at risk, it prompts road safety practitioners and partners to focus their efforts on victims, because that’s the data that is available.
We want to see the bigger picture get a clearer understanding of what has happened. To do that, it may also be useful to know more about the ‘other’ road-users. Are there any patterns? Which drivers are most likely to be involved in crashes with cyclists? With children? With powered-two-wheeler riders? With other drivers? Repeat offenders? New drivers? This information may reveal more effective areas to focus on and help build a Safe System that protects all road-users.
Developing our datasets
We are aware that there may be important gaps in our understanding. As a partnership, we will seek opportunities to improve our use of data and find other sources of information that could help us to better understand how to effectively deliver Vision Zero. Examples of information that may be useful include:
- data from insurance companies, including areas with high proportions of uninsured drivers
- WYFRS data about road traffic collisions they attend
- correlations between risk from road danger and factors such as deprivation, health, age etc
- patterns in relation to post-collision outcomes such as health and social care, employment, education, family and community impact
- coroners’ reports
- impact of crashes on pregnant women and unborn babies
- individual / community narratives (such as ‘near-miss’ accounts).
We will continue to compile this list of potential sources.
Developing ways to share data
The way we upload and share reports and share raw data with those wishing to run their own analyses will be reviewed and updated as part of plans for a new Vision Zero website. Existing raw data about collisions (including location, vehicles involved, weather conditions and the injury severity of any casualties) is available from Data Mill North, and this will be updated annually. Summary data to 2018 is also published on Leeds City Council website, which will remain live until the new Vision Zero website is launched.
4. Safe Behaviours and People
We will encourage behaviours that help to keep all road-users safe:
- focus on the ‘fatal five’ most dangerous driver behaviours
- work with specific driver groups and on specific issues
- promote the Highway Code hierarchy of responsibility among road-users
Road-users should all behave in a way that is safe, legal and considerate. Those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others, as stated in the Highway Code. While all road-users do things that increase the risk to themselves, the actions of pedestrians, cyclists and children rarely cause serious or fatal injuries to others. This Vision Zero pillar therefore prioritises driving behaviour, from the extreme ‘fatal five’ behaviours (speeding, drink and drug driving, distraction, seatbelt offences and careless driving) to all other interactions between different types of driver, the roads and other road-users.
Focusing on the ‘fatal five’
Driver behaviour is the most frequent critical reason for fatal and serious crashes in Leeds. Historically, we have focussed on what is referred to as the ‘fatal four’. These behavioural choices cause collisions that have the worst outcomes: speeding, not wearing seatbelts, drink and drug driving and driver distraction. In Leeds, we will now also include a fifth area: careless driving. The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership will recommend that this be adopted through West Yorkshire.
Drivers and riders should drive at a speed that is legal, safe and appropriate. We need to make sure that people understand that choosing to speed is a deliberate, active decision that could kill someone, even at lower speeds. Our data confirms, though, that speeding, or speeding related behaviour is the most common form of dangerous driving in Leeds.
Eligible drivers who exceed the speed limit may be offered a National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) course as an alternative to prosecution. More serious or persistent offenders are more likely to get a fine and penalty points or a court appearance.
We cover how we will address speeding in greater detail within the ‘Safe Speeds’ chapter.
Drink and drug driving
Alcohol and drugs affect driver reaction times, vision and ability to concentrate, which makes it more difficult to control the car. They also increase risk-taking behaviour.
There are strict legal alcohol limits for drivers, but alcohol affects drivers differently depending on weight, sex, age, metabolism, type of alcohol, rate of consumption and what they’ve eaten. People who drive the morning after an evening of drinking may well still be over the limit and a danger to themselves and others.
It is illegal for someone to drive if they are unfit to do so, either because they have taken legal (over-the-counter) or prescribed drugs, or if they have illegal drugs in their blood.
The rates of drink or drug driving in Leeds are hard to ascertain and likely to be underreported.
What we do know is that, between 2017 and 2021, crashes where the driver or rider was recorded to be impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs killed four people in Leeds and seriously injured a further 67.
- Most victims of drink or drug driving were car occupants (74%); 9% were pedestrians, 6% pedal cyclists and 12% were powered-two-wheeler riders.
- Most of those arrested by police for drink or drug driving in 2021 were white males aged 22 to 40.
Police can stop a driver and do roadside tests for drugs and arrest them if they think the driver is unfit to drive. If convicted, penalties are a minimum of a one-year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison and a criminal record. In March 2015, the drug driving laws changed, and it is now easier for police to detect people who are under the influence of drugs. Drug driving arrests in Leeds have increased since then, bringing drug driving arrest rates close to those for drink driving. We will advocate for even better drug-testing and stricter drink driving laws.
We will draw on many colleagues and partners (public Health / drug and alcohol addiction services, educational, clinical and forensic psychologists, probation officers, community, youth and social workers) who may have valuable professional insights that could help us better to understand the often-complex issues that may be associated with driving behaviour choices. By identifying and leveraging this existing expertise, we will ensure that our own work to reduce road danger is appropriate, effective and based on evidence and best practice. We will also explore fresh ways to reach those most at risk of drink and drug driving, working for example with restaurants, nightclubs and bars to promote transport alternatives such as taxis, rideshare services, designated drivers, and public transport.
During the first year of Operation SPARC (July 2020-August 2021), the most common offence that police dealt with was not wearing a seatbelt: they issued seatbelt-related tickets to 26% of the drivers they dealt with.
Wearing a seatbelt does not prevent a collision, but it can greatly affect the outcome. In a crash,
. Seatbelts save hundreds of lives each year; in 2018, though,
Some people are less likely to choose to wear seatbelts than others. They include under-35s and people who live in areas of deprivation. These groups are also more likely to drive older cars with fewer safety features. A failure to wear seatbelts is also associated with other high-risk driving behaviours, such as drink-driving.
We need to understand why Operation SPARC found such high rates of seatbelt offences, how widespread this is and why people decide not to wear seatbelts. This will help us to refine our communications to help eliminate fatal and serious injuries and how best to deploy enforcement.
Distracted driving happens whenever a driver does something that takes their attention away from driving, however briefly.
- Physical distractions include texting/making a phone call, setting a satnav, eating or drinking
- Mental distractions include conversations in the car or on a phone, allowing the mind to wander on familiar roads, mental states such as anxiety, anger, excitement and stress.
- Visual and audio distractions are those such as loud music, looking at things happening outside
One of the main sources of distraction is use of handheld mobile phones. The law on their use changed in 2022, and it is now illegal to use of a hand-held mobile device for any reason, including taking photos and videos, scrolling through playlists and playing games, as well as making calls, messaging and using social media. We will continue to work closely with West Yorkshire Police to ensure changes to mobile phone legislation are widely communicated and support their commitment to enforcing this.
The range of potential distractions is huge, as the list above indicates, and different drivers develop different habits and may be distracted by different things. Behaviour-change communications need to be carefully targeted and framed so that those who engage in specific, distraction-related behaviours recognise themselves, understand the risk they pose and are highly motivated to change.
National Highways and West Yorkshire Police are targeting dangerous driving on the strategic road network in Leeds as part of ‘Operation Tramline’. Police travelling in elevated HGV cabs can film unsafe behaviour such as driving without wearing a seatbelt or using a mobile phone. The operation is a response to the National Highways road safety target of a decrease of at least 40% in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the strategic road network.
Many drivers suffer from an over-confidence in their own abilities. This means that drivers often feel therefore that road safety messages are not relevant to them, which presents a particular challenge for anyone working in road safety. Recently, Leeds City Council developed a ‘spot the difference’ tool using funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Researchers found that that, after interacting with this game, drivers were more likely to accept that they should pay more attention on the road.
We will continue to deliver, develop and promote targeted enforcement activities, education and communications to address dangerous driving behaviour, anti-social vehicle behaviour and stolen vehicle offences.
The results of our consultation show strong support for extending the ‘fatal four’ to cover a fifth area: careless driving. When driven without due care and attention, a vehicle has the potential to cause great danger to others. While the safe system approach should provide a safety net if human errors occur, those in control of motor vehicles must do everything within their control to keep others, and themselves, safe.
Careless driving encompasses behaviours relating to the existing fatal four, such as driving at an inappropriate speed or eating / drinking behind the wheel. However, it can also cover a wider range of behaviours, such as:
- driving too close to the vehicle in front
- failing to stop at a signalised or ‘give way’ junction
- unsafe over- or under-taking
- failing to signal
- making an inappropriate turn
- driving while tired.
Data from 2017 – 2021 in Leeds shows ‘failure to look’ by a driver or rider is the most frequently recorded contributing factor in KSI crashes. Other frequently occurring factors recorded include poor turn or manoeuvre, reckless and aggressive driving and loss of control.
The council will encourage the West Yorkshire Safe Roads partnership to adopt and launch an awareness-raising campaign outlining the new fatal five.
Working with specific driver groups and on specific issues
The ‘fatal five’ are the most common dangerous driving behaviours associated with crashes resulting in catastrophic injury. There are, though, many other driving habits and behaviours that increase the risk of road danger. Some of these (moving traffic offences such as driving in bike lanes for example) apply widely to all drivers. Others are issues that are relevant to specific driver profiles linked, for example, to age and experience, vehicle type or occupation. We will consider how to understand and address those that are most relevant to Vision Zero.
While recognising that all safe driving behaviour is a matter for all drivers, partners will work in the first instance with the following clusters of behaviours and specific driver groups.
Young drivers and riders (defined as those aged 17-24) are, per mile travelled, more likely to crash than older drivers. Young male drivers present a particular risk to themselves and others.
Between 2017 and 2021:
- crashes involving vehicles driven by people aged 24 or under accounted for 27% of all fatalities on roads in Leeds
- 26 young people died and 500 were seriously injured on roads in Leeds
Newly qualified drivers travelling with passengers of similar age are four times more likely to be in a fatal crash, compared with when driving alone. When carrying older passengers, young people are less likely to crash.
The risk to (and from) young drivers results from a combination of many factors.
- Drivers of this age may use their cars as a social space, so they are more likely to be multi-occupancy.
- Peer pressure can influence driving behaviour negatively (and positively).
- A lack of experience means that young people need to concentrate more on unfamiliar practical tasks such as steering, changing gears, and so pay less attention to hazard detection.
- Impulse control is less developed, and so some younger drivers may be more likely to take risks.
- They tend to have poorer attention, visual awareness and are less able to judge appropriate speed for conditions.
Some tools already exist to reduce danger for young drivers. Black box technology, which records data about driving behaviour and limits driving times or numbers of passengers, is commonly used by drivers of this age, providing incentives for safer driving behaviour.
Education interventions for this age group have included theatre in education performance funded by the West Yorkshire Safe Roads Partnership. Sessions have also been delivered online or in person by partners, covering themes such as ‘attention blindness’ and bystander intervention strategies to help peers step in to prevent a situation from becoming dangerous.
The partnership recognises however that there is a gap in good quality, coordinated education, communication and training for this age group and we will try to address this. Different partners offer various services and interventions, and we need to consider how to resource and deliver effective behaviour change programmes to this age group as a priority.
Older drivers often benefit from having more experience and driving helps many people to maintain independence, connections and mobility. With age, though, cognitive and physical abilities deteriorate, affecting people’s ability to drive safely. As with all the data, sample size exerts an influence.
Between 2017 and 2021:
- crashes involving vehicles driven by people aged 60 or over accounted for 16% of all fatalities on roads in Leeds
- 25 people aged over 60 were killed and 249 seriously injured on roads in Leeds
We will identify ways to engage with older drivers with agencies such as the William Merritt Centre and Leeds Older People’s Forum to promote services for older drivers.
It is an offence to fail to stop at the scene of a crash in the UK. Tracing a driver following a ‘hit-and-run’ crash can be difficult however in-vehicle technology can help investigators identify if a vehicle has been involved in a collision. Operation SNAP and dashcams can also play an important role, and police regularly call for footage to help them find the drivers involved and understand what happened.
West Yorkshire Police will lead on this work in this area, with support from the other partners.
In 2017-2021, crashes involving people driving stolen vehicles resulted in 31 collisions with six deaths and 35 serious injuries. Drivers in these situations have often committed multiple other offences. West Yorkshire Police will continue to address this issue through coordinated efforts, with the support where appropriate of other partners.
Taxi and private hire drivers, passengers and vehicles
There are almost 6,000 registered taxi and private hire drivers in Leeds, providing a valuable service for many people and also playing a vital role in supporting sustainable transport and reducing the need to own a private car. In Leeds, the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing (TPHL) department regulates this service to ensure safety for drivers, passengers, and other road-users. All drivers must pass a driving standards assessment from an approved supplier and will have criminal record and driving conviction checks carried out before getting their licence.
Between 2017 and 2021, 54 people were killed or seriously injured in collisions involving taxis or private hire vehicles on roads in Leeds.
The aim of our work with taxi and private hire drivers is to keep them, their passengers and other road-users such as pedestrians and cyclists safe. Taxi and private hire drivers tell us that many collisions involve elements of risky passenger behaviour and some injuries related to pedestrian behaviour, particularly when injuries occurred late at night / early morning.
We will explore new ways to work with taxi and private hire drivers to promote key campaign messages to passengers, pedestrians and drivers, encourage regular vehicle maintenance checks and explore introducing a Vision Zero ‘kitemark’ to recognise best practice in the industry.
An ongoing consultation relating to minor convictions proposes to reduce the number of points taxi and private hire drivers can accrue before they need to retrain or have their licence revoked, and to reduce the number of points a new applicant can have before they can obtain a licence.
Road traffic offences
Many road traffic offences can be minor in nature, for some road-users this will be their only experience of the police or the criminal justice system. The prosecution and enforcement of road traffic offences is vital to road safety in order to protect the public such as speeding, wearing seat belts, driving without due care and attention or dangerous driving.
There is also specific legislation covering the construction and use of vehicles on the roads to ensure they are safe to be used, for example having a valid MOT, correct tyres, brakes, compliance with weight limits and safe/correctly fitted parts. In all cases of a road traffic offence being committed the police have tactical options including formal court proceedings or out of court disposals such as a Fixed Penalty Notice, driver improvement schemes or verbal advice.
In the 12 months to September 2021, police in Leeds dealt with 4,774 road traffic offences, 1,795 of which related to ‘fatal four’ offences. Roads policing officers dealt with a further 10,459 of these offences, 4,016 of which related to the fatal four.
Moving traffic offences
The DfT has recently begun to give councils in England civil enforcement powers to cover moving traffic offences under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. Previously, only the police were able to issue penalty charge notices for these types of offence. This change means that Leeds City Council will be able to enforce driving contraventions that cause problems for other road-users such as driving in entering pedestrian zones, driving in cycle lanes cycle lanes and failing to give priority to oncoming traffic.
In 2022/23, Leeds City Council will be applying to DfT for the powers for them to assist with the enforcement of moving traffic offences.
Vehicle nuisance and anti-social behaviour
West Yorkshire Police and the Safer Leeds team at Leeds City Council receive reports of anti-social use of vehicles on public roads. Ride-outs, street racing, cruising and riding unlicensed powered vehicles can put all road-users and the public in danger.
Street racing is the illegal racing of any vehicle on a public road.
Street cruising is when drivers congregate to drive around a street or neighbourhood, often at night.
In 2020, 3,347 nuisance motorcycle/quad bike incidents were recorded by police in Leeds. Vehicles often do not have a registration plate or lights, and riders are frequently reported not wearing protective headgear. Some incidents described very young children being carried on or riding vehicles.
Leeds City Council is seeking powers to tackle anti-social behaviour driving behaviour and vehicle use throughout Leeds using a citywide Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Nuisance Vehicles.
A public consultation to introduce an Order took place in summer 2022. Some of the key issues that this will address are:
- speeding or racing;
- revving engines, sounding horns or playing loud music so as to cause a nuisance;
- posing a danger to other road-users (including pedestrians);
- performing stunts (such as ‘doughnuts’, skidding, handbrake turns, wheel spinning).
A person found to be in breach of this order is liable to be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 or a summary conviction to a maximum penalty of a Level 3 fine.
West Yorkshire Police and Leeds anti-social behaviour team regularly work together to enforce and deter this type of activity.
MOT, insurance and driving licences
Operation SPARC suggests that a considerable number of drivers in Leeds still choose to drive illegally without the appropriate licence, or to drive a vehicle that is not insured or does not have an MOT. This puts other road-users at risk and can greatly affect the post-collision experiences.
We will consider how best to reduce occurrences of these offences and signpost those who have lost their licence to alternative modes.
Driver health conditions
Alcohol and drugs affect someone’s health and driving skills. Many other conditions also affect a driver’s physical fitness to drive. These include, poor eyesight, poor hearing, feeling ill, chronic pain, acute pain, lack of sleep, frame of mind (such as stress, anxiety, anger), mental health, side-effects of medication or treatment, medical issues and episodes and so on. While other road-users may also be affected by these conditions and increase the road danger risk to themselves, they are far less likely to do something that results in someone else suffering serious harm.
We will work in partnership with our public health colleagues to:
- promote alternative transport options (taxis, active travel, public transport, lifts etc);
- raise awareness among drivers of how to recognise and respond to all of these issues;
- develop tools to help drivers make good decisions about when it is, or is not, safe to drive.
Promoting a hierarchy of responsibility among road-users
Certain groups are much more vulnerable to traffic injuries. They include children and young people, older people, pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders, horse-riders and people with health or mobility issues.
On 29 January 2022, updates to the Highway Code came into force. They aim to make roads safer for the most exposed road-users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The changes include a new Hierarchy of Road-users, which states that those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others. These are other significant updates and clarifications (pedestrian and cycle priority over motorists at crossings, for example), that will affect all road-users. The government launched an awareness-raising campaign, which we have supported.
We will explore and implement new ways to promote key campaign messages, particularly those that will help to reduce the danger for road-users who are more vulnerable to traffic injury.
Many people rely on walking, either to a destination or to and from public transport or taxis, to move around. A Safe System approach means considering how the environment and traffic system can make travel safer, or more dangerous, for all of them. Some people need mobility scooters or walking frames to help them get around, many need places to rest (such as benches). They may need more time to cross the road and may also have issues such as hearing or sight loss: a quiet electric car can be harder to hear, dazzling headlights may temporarily affect vision. Wheelchair users find themselves forced into traffic by pavement parking, and cyclists may cause anxiety to visually impaired people in shared spaces.
We will work with various user-groups to identify ways to stay safe, including radio and digital advertising campaigns and through groups such as the Older People’s Forum. Our work must extend to educating drivers and riders about the many issues, seen and unseen, that pedestrians may face, and how the Hierarchy of Road-users requires them to behave.
KSI collisions with pedestrian casualties in Leeds 2017-2021
Journey to school
School gate parking and congestion make roads near schools feel dangerous, reduce air quality and make it harder for families to walk or cycle. Traffic presents a specific threat to children who are starting to travel independently, particularly those walking to secondary school.
Between 2017 and 2021:
- crashes killed or seriously injured 13 children on their way to/from school
- a further 16 people over 18 were killed or seriously injured on journeys to/from school
- 58% of 5 to 15-year-olds hurt by crashes were on foot
It’s little surprise then that demand from schools for pedestrian training continues to be high. As well as working on a Safe System approach, with its remit to reduce traffic threat, we must continue to teach children in Leeds to protect themselves from traffic. The correlation between pedestrian risk in general and deprivation is covered below. For 2021-2022, we used road casualty data to identify the following priority wards for education initiatives with children most at risk of being harmed by vehicles:
- Gipton & Harehills
- Hunslet & Riverside
- Burmantofts & Richmond Hill
- Beeston & Holbeck, Killingbeck & Seacroft
- Middleton Park and Armley.
Each year more than 10,000 children and young people in Leeds receive ‘Bikeability’ training. While there is high demand for Level 1 & 2 training in primary schools, Level 3 is more challenging to deliver, because of timetable restrictions in secondary schools and the additional resource needed. We will explore different ways to deliver training to these older groups and ensure cycle training is accessible to all. Data around child cycling casualties showed that priority schools for Bikeability are in Killingbeck and Seacroft, and Armley.
To achieve Vision Zero, we must continue to educate drivers and carry out enforcement activities where their driving behaviour puts children and young people in danger. Activities will relate to issues such as dangerous parking, speeding outside schools and air quality (idling). For information about School Streets and Safer Routes to School, please see Safe Roads section.
Cycling in Leeds has become more popular in recent years, and the Covid19 pandemic encouraged even more people to start riding bikes, including e-bikes and adapted bikes, and for a variety of journeys – commuting, leisure, utility and club riding. To support this growth, segregated cycling infrastructure is being introduced across Leeds. The council has a programme to identify key schemes to reduce danger for cyclists (see Safe Roads). This infrastructure should help to increase the number of people who feel safe to cycle. Routes need to be accessible to all users, including those on adapted bikes or with ‘tag-alongs’ for children. We will push for further development of infrastructure to reduce danger and encourage more people to cycle, and we will continue to support people to develop the skills, confidence and knowledge to cycle safely, legally and courteously. We will also promote schemes such as ‘Bike Friendly Businesses’ and work with partners at the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to advise on the provision of facilities such as storage and changing facilities.
Between 2017 and 2021, crashes killed four cyclists and seriously injured 274.
when a driver fails to give way, pulls out into the path of cyclist, turns across the path of cyclist (‘left/right hook’), runs into the back of bike or knocks a cyclist off while overtaking.
The partnership will support new Highway Code guidelines and follow the Hierarchy of Road-users, which states that those who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.
KSI collisions with pedal-bike casualties in Leeds 2016-2020
‘Close Pass’ initiative
Launched in 2017 in West Yorkshire, the ‘close pass’ initiative raises awareness among drivers of how to drive safely around cyclists (this can also be used for horse riding). The initiative involves plain-clothes police officers on bikes equipped with cameras. If a driver overtakes dangerously close, the officer radios ahead to alert uniformed colleagues. They pull the driver in and offer to explain why it is important to overtake bikes safely. Should a driver refuse, they would receive a fixed penalty notice.
We need to do more to alert drivers about how to drive safely around cyclists. We will continue to deliver ‘close pass’ operations and plan other targeted events and campaigns to tackle issues identified by more detailed data analysis.
Reducing rider-pedestrian conflict
We receive some complaints from members of the public about people riding bikes on pavements, in ‘pedestrian areas’, and about disregard on shared use paths and tracks. Riders coming from behind can cause alarm and distress for people, particularly white-cane users and those with other visual, hearing or mobility issues. The increase in delivery riders on bikes, e-bikes and other electrically assisted pedal cycles has resulted in an increase in these complaints.
Most people on bikes will ride considerately around others, but we need to develop new ways to engage with those who don’t. The Highway Code’s ‘Hierarchy of Road-users’ requires cyclists to take greater responsibility for the safety of those who are on foot. We will work with user groups to develop education and communications to address this emerging issue, raise awareness of the rule changes and continue to promote any adult cycle training that is available.
Reports of incidents involving horses and vehicles on roads in Leeds are low, but some have resulted in riders being injured and animals being euthanised. It is crucial to work towards preventing future near misses or crashes and make drivers aware of what to do when they encounter horses on the road.
We have begun discussions with the British Horse Society about how to keep horse riders safer in Leeds and are keen to develop this relationship. Some horse riders have submitted helmet footage of dangerous driving to the police through Operation SNAP and drivers have been prosecuted as a result. We will work with the BHS to promote Operation SNAP and also to deliver ‘close pass’ operations. The BHS are keen to expand delivery of driver education programmes and we will help promote this to schools and businesses.
Powered two-wheeler riders
Powered two-wheelers (PTWs) refers to scooters, mopeds and motorcycles. Young people aged over 16 can learn to ride, and this offers independence to many that do not have access to other transport. Some may go on to get a full bike licence, which allows them to ride a bike of any size by the age of 21. PTWs take up much less space on roads, reducing congestion.
PTWs are a unique road-user group with distinct needs when it comes to staying safe on the road and they ride vehicles that range vastly in size, weight, power and potential speed and so require specialist handling skills. Most motorcycles are very manoeuvrable, but their distinctive grip and balance requirements mean that riders are at a higher risk of being involved in a crash; riders and their passengers are particularly vulnerable to the risk of injury in general and are disproportionately represented in the casualty statistics for deaths and serious injuries.
Between 2017 and 2021, crashes killed 15 PTW riders and left a further 283 with serious injuries.
We will continue to identify how to reduce risks and hazards for PTW riders. We will also seek better opportunities to implement education and awareness-raising activities that focus on protecting riders from road danger, such as the young rider ‘BUMPY’ project delivered by West Yorkshire Police. Several campaigns have run over the last 20 years including Think Bike/Think Biker, Someone’s Son and Biker Down. A trial allowing PTWs to use bus lanes in the city launched in August 2022.
KSI collisions in Leeds involving powered two-wheelers 2017-2021
At the time of writing, it is currently illegal to ride an electric scooter (e-scooter) on a pavement or road in Leeds, apart from on private land. Some people are however either unaware of the law, or ignore it, and we are beginning to see a small number conflicts with other road-users, including pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. We are also starting to receive reports of crashes, injuries and fatalities involving e-scooter riders.
We are increasing awareness about the law through communication and engagement activities, as well as considering other measures, such as how to work with retailers to advise people at the point of sale and how to improve safety for those riding e-scooters within the law i.e. on private land. We will continue to monitor this and consider how best to mitigate risk.
As part of the Leeds Transport Strategy, we will continue to work with the DfT to introduce an e-scooter trial or work with shared transport operators to manage safe use of rental scooters if these are legalised for rental use, and we will work with operators to bring a safe operating model to Leeds.
In May 2022, the introduction of the Transport Bill was announced, which includes the legalisation of private e-scooters on public roads to be put before parliament in the 2022/23 session. We will await further details regarding legislation and regulation, and implement further actions as required.
Use of restraints
Babies, toddlers and children must, by law, have the correct child restraint for their age and size to support their developing bodies and reduce the risk of serious harm if there is a crash. The information available though, can be overwhelming and confusing. In addition, child car seats can be expensive, space is a problem for some families, and parents and carers may be unaware of the risks.
We will work with partners in health, schools, nurseries and children’s centres to educate staff and communities about child car seat legislation (including car-seat fitting sessions).
Many residents of Leeds rely on buses to travel into and around the city and the Leeds Transport strategy aims to increase bus use by 130% by 2030. Incidences of the most serious injuries on buses in Leeds are low. However, feedback from older bus users and those with mobility issues has highlighted issues relating to buses setting off before passengers are seated or accessible seats being used by other users. We need to work in partnership with bus operators and users to eliminate all injuries and to make bus use easier for all residents and visitors to Leeds.
Sadly, deaths from suicide do, sometimes, occur on roads. These, along with serious injuries relating to incidents of self-harm, are included in the overall data.
We will consider how best to work with health professionals and partners such as National Highways to see how we could help to prevent the very small numbers of deaths and injuries that occur as a result of self-harm.
Case study - Operation SNAP
In July 2020 West Yorkshire Police launched ‘Operation SNAP’, an online facility that allows members of the public to submit video footage of potential driving offences. This includes dangerous driving around other road-users such as horse riders and cyclists, anti-social driver behaviour and using a mobile phone at the wheel. The system accepts footage from any source, including dashcams in vehicles, cameras attached to helmets or handlebars or from mobile phones. Roads policing specialists review all the footage sent in. If they establish that an offence has been committed, and if they are able to identify the driver, the police then take action. Depending on the circumstances, the driver may be offered:
- a driver education course;
- a conditional offer - three points on their licence and a fixed penalty notice;
- a summons to attend court
People who upload footage receive e-mail feedback about the outcome. If they are required to give evidence in court as witnesses, they receive additional support and guidance.
Submissions to date
In 2021 Operation SNAP received more than 1,200 submissions from people in Leeds. Police have so far been able to take around 65% of the submissions further.
|Road-user||% of submissions to Operation SNAP|
|Action taken||% of overall action taken in Leeds|
|No further action||34.9|
Our commitment to Operation Snap
We will work together to raise awareness of Operation Snap among all road-users and increase the number of submissions to Operation SNAP to report dangerous driving by 5% each year.
Case study - Operation SPARC
Operation SPARC (Supporting Partnership Action to Reduce Road Casualties) was developed in partnership with West Yorkshire Police (Leeds District) in response to an increase in anti-social driving complaints from residents.
Launched in July 2020, the operation focuses on targeting anti-social driving and the driving offences most associated with victims being killed or seriously injured.
Specialist roads policing officers target motorists who are speeding, using a handheld mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. People who drive aggressively, with vehicle defects or without third party insurance or tax will also face enforcement. The off-road motorbike team of specially trained police officers target areas with high levels of anti-social driving and the illegal use of quad bikes and motorbikes.
In its first two years since launching in July 2020, police officers dealt with almost 4,500 drivers, some for more than one offence.
“Our partnership with West Yorkshire Police is improving road safety across Leeds. The project makes our roads safer for local communities, including children and vulnerable people, by targeting dangerous and anti-social driving.” Councillor Helen Hayden
“The SPARC initiative has brought some significant results by using an evidence-based approach to pinpoint the areas where the issues are greatest to target proactive operations in those areas. We will be building on that success to further co-ordinate our work to make our roads and communities safer for everyone.” Chief Inspector Andy Loftus, West Yorkshire Police
In August 2021, funding for Operation SPARC was extended for a further 12 months. The operation was nominated for an outstanding contribution to roads policing award in the West Yorkshire Police Awards 2021.
|Driving without a seatbelt||26|
|Using a mobile phone||4|
|No formal action taken||16|
Our commitment to Operation SPARC
We will continue to work in partnership to fund and deliver Operation SPARC, review target areas and develop communications and campaigns to address the main offences identified. We will also explore additional funding streams for future extensions to the project.
5. Safe Speeds
We will reduce speeds to make roads in Leeds safe for everyone:
- investigate a maximum 50mph speed limit for faster roads
- prevent and discourage illegal and inappropriate speeding
- carry out evidence-based enforcement
- collaborate with others to promote safe and considerate speeds
Speeding is when a driver chooses to exceed the speed limit or to drive too fast for the conditions. Speeding can be when people routinely break the speed limit (going at 25mph in a 20mph zone, for example), or decide to drive at excessive speeds. As well as being dangerous to the driver and everyone else on the roads and pavements, speeding can also be intimidating: we know it prevents people from walking or cycling in the first place.
The risk of crashing, and of that crash resulting in death or serious injury, increases significantly with speed, even at lower speeds. Other driver behaviours associated with speeding may also contribute to a crash. These speed-related factors include loss of control, aggressive driving, being in a hurry or failing to judge another person’s speed or path. Of the behaviours most likely to result in death or serious injury, the Leeds Safe Roads Partnership considers speeding to pose such a high risk to road-users that it needs its own Safe System pillar.
Between 2017 and 2021, speed was identified as a possible contributory factor in the deaths or serious injuries of 188 people in Leeds. Most victims were car drivers and passengers.
To achieve Vision Zero, we need to rid the streets of Leeds of speeding. Some of the ways to achieve this include road designs that constrain drivers and stop them from speeding, speed limits, behaviour and other related initiatives, supported by enforcement (through speed cameras for example). We will also consider how to improve traditional approaches to measuring traffic risk to gain more insight, identify gaps and come up with proactive (rather than reactive) solutions.
Investigate a maximum 50mph speed limit for faster roads
The risk of fatal or serious injury in the event of a crash increases exponentially with speed. We will now extend our existing work on reducing speeds to include faster (but non-motorway) roads, for example those signposted with the national speed limit where more ‘all-severity’ crashes happen and consider reducing speed limits here to a maximum of 50mph.
We want to test whether this would:
- reduce the frequency of all-severity crashes
- identify supporting measures that would increase effectiveness of changing the speed limit
- remove legacy inconsistencies and confusion about speed limits
- share learning with other local authorities and partners.
Reviewing other speed limits
The Department for Transport (DfT) makes most of the decisions about speed limits. There are some areas, though, where local councils can set the speed limits and consider bringing in more 20mph limits and zones in urban areas and built-up village streets.
A review of speed limits in Leeds, commissioned by Leeds City Council several years ago, recommended reducing some speed limits, but concluded that most speed limits are currently appropriate. We will review speed limits on local roads and introduce interventions to support a reduced limit where this is warranted.
People can contact the council to ask for a speed limit to be reviewed. Officers from the Highways and Transportation team handle these requests in line with DfT guidance and using speed data. We will make it easier for people to make requests and report where speeding occurs.
Leeds has declared a climate emergency, recognising that transport contributes around a third of the city’s carbon emissions. Driving fast consumes a lot more expensive, carbon-hungry fuel. The most fuel-efficient speed is 45-50mph. As well as making these roads safer, a city-wide 50mph maximum speed limit for faster roads could help Leeds achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and help drivers to save money.
Prevent and discourage illegal and inappropriate speeding
Low traffic speeds help to make streets feel pleasant, welcoming and safe enough for people to walk or cycle. Speed limits, zones, street design, safe traffic culture, education and enforcement all support a Safe System approach to achieving traffic speeds that are safe, legal and appealing for active travel.
We need to use existing tools effectively and identify new and innovative ways to achieve safe and appropriate speeds on the roads in Leeds. Road design, speed limits, monitoring, enforcement, education and social norms are some of the main factors that help lower overall traffic speeds and change the habits of habitual offenders – whether those who drive at excessive speeds, or those otherwise law-abiding drivers who routinely drive over the speed limit.
Speed and design limits
The speed limit is the maximum legal speed at which a driver should ever drive. Current traffic culture means that many drivers treat the speed limit as if it were the recommended (rather than the maximum) speed, and some habitually exceed this.
The design limit is the speed at which people drive when physically constrained by environmental factors such as road width and shape, bollards and junction design. We can include or retrofit design elements to reduce speeds, such as narrowing roads, reallocating street space and disrupting stretches of straight road. Effective design speeds can increase compliance with legal speed limits, reduce the need for enforcement, improve community cohesion, reduce or remove traffic intimidation and make roads safe for people to walk or cycle.
To help eliminate traffic death and injury, streets in new developments need to meet the council’s
Street Design Guide and align with the Leeds Transport Strategy. To reflect our commitment to ‘Safe System’ thinking, they should also:
- integrate the reality of human fallibility (people make mistakes)
- be ‘forgiving’ (mistakes should not result in death or serious injury).
KSI collisions in Leeds by posted limit, 2017-2021
More than 60% of KSI collisions occur on roads signposted as 30mph zones. Analysis of the collision reports indicates that most of these involved drivers doing more than 30mph. We will work with the police to target speeding in these zones using appropriate methods.
Speed limit of road where KSI collisions occur in Leeds, 2017-2021
Safety camera criteria
The West Yorkshire Police (WYP) Camera Enforcement Unit uses mobile and fixed cameras (‘speed cameras’) to enforce speed limits. It does this on behalf of the West Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership, which works on speeding and red-light offences. The unit installs speed cameras as a last resort in high-risk locations.
For a site to qualify, it must meet certain objective criteria, such as traffic flow and collision data.
and adopted by the partnership. That guidance has recently been updated, which should now allow the unit greater flexibility and the ability to respond more quickly and proactively to new and emerging risks while retaining an objective, evidence-based threshold.
The partnership does not receive any grant funding to install or maintain cameras, or to help with the costs of dealing with offenders. The speed cameras are self-funding through a cost-recovery process, with an element of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) course fee that drivers pay. Officers from Leeds City Council Highways and Transportation team help the partnership to identify and assess requests for new speed-enforcement sites.
Between 2017 and 2021, almost 287,000 drivers in Leeds were caught speeding by mobile or static safety cameras.
We will continue to carry out analysis of or data to identify sites where safety cameras could have an impact on driver behaviour. We will signpost people to the criteria for safety cameras and make the process clearer to make requests.
Data-driven police enforcement operations
Every day, West Yorkshire Police Roads Policing Unit (RPU) and local neighbourhood policing teams (NPTs) enforce speed limits on roads in Leeds using in-car and handheld speed detection technology. Intelligence-led operations ensure that they deploy their resources into the right areas/at the right groups and help to target specific high-risk behaviours.
The operation ‘Supporting Partnership Action to Reduce Road Casualties’ (Operation SPARC) started in July 2020. Developed with West Yorkshire Police and funded by Leeds City Council, this offers additional police deployments, including the off-road bike team, neighbourhood policing teams and officers from the roads policing unit, working closely with the Leeds anti-social behaviour team. Specialist roads policing units target drivers who are speeding, using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or otherwise driving dangerously.
Operation Amberland is a Leeds District neighbourhood policing team (NPT) road danger initiative. It includes pro-lasers for speeding, ‘close pass’ initiatives aimed at drivers overtaking cyclists too closely and removing vehicles that are blocking the road.
Static speed cameras
There are 121 static sites in Leeds. Between 2017 and 2021, 288,000 drivers were caught and prosecuted for speeding.
Mobile speed cameras
The partnership has four mobile enforcement vehicles. These have a manually operated speed camera inside high-visibility enforcement vans at 19 high-risk sites across Leeds.
Pro-laser speed detection devices
Roads policing officers and some NPTs use handheld speed detection devices at any location, either overtly or covertly.
Average speed cameras
Average speed cameras work by recording speed at different points over a length of road. This prevents people slowing down just before they see a camera then speeding up again (‘camera surfing’). They help to keep the traffic flowing steadily instead of stopping and starting. Longer lengths of road can be covered by this technology, which can be much more effective at reducing mean speeds. Currently, there are no average speed cameras in Leeds.
Traffic light cameras*
There are 11 traffic light cameras in Leeds. These enforce red-light violations at junctions that meet current DfT thresholds. The minimum penalty is £100 and 3 penalty points.
*Although not a speed management tool, traffic light cameras are an effective way to enforce dangerous driver behaviour.
Our existing traffic count data can also help us to monitor our performance against two of the safe system indicators suggested by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS):
- traffic complying with speed limits on local roads
- traffic complying with speed limits on national roads in Leeds (in partnership with National Highways).
We would like to carry out additional research and analysis of data to find out more about where speeding occurs on the network and who is most likely to speed in Leeds to help target our resources, communications, operations and campaigns.
Leeds has already rolled out 20mph zones in many residential areas, adopting an ‘install and review’ approach in order to monitor impact without adding a lot of traffic calming. Since 2019, we have added 90 more 20mph areas. In most of these, the new signs alone have led to a drop in traffic speeds. In a few areas, though, we need to add extra traffic calming such as road humps. We’re looking into this now.
Speed limit repeater signs
Speed limit repeater signs are slightly smaller than normal entry speed limit signs. They can be on either side of the road and are usually attached to lampposts, other road signposts or on freestanding posts, at distances stipulated by the Department for Transport. Local authorities may not use 30mph signs in built-up areas, and drivers know from the Highway Code that roads with streetlights are default as 30mph speed limits unless signs say otherwise. Gateways (a combination of traffic calming and visual measures to slow vehicles or discourage through traffic), painted markings and warning signs also reinforce speed limits and changes in these, in line with DfT guidance.
Speed indicator devices: fixed and mobile
Speed indicator devices, or SIDs, use radar-activated technology with a digital screen that alerts drivers to their speed, sometimes displaying a smiley or a sad face depending on whether the driver is within the speed limit. The aim is to educate drivers and encourage compliance with the speed limit.
Fixed SIDs are temporary sign installations (usually attached to lampposts). While Leeds City Council does not have the financial resources to provide SIDs, Highways & Transportation (via the traffic engineering team) may be able to help local communities to buy and install SIDs if certain criteria are met.
Mobile SIDs are pop-up versions that schools, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), councillors and community groups can borrow. This is part of a community speed awareness scheme to help local people target specific problem areas. The partnership has nine mobile SIDS, including five held by NPTs.
National, regional and local speed awareness campaigns
We support national and regional speed awareness campaigns, including those from the government’s own THINK! campaign department, and those planned by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), such as the ‘Slow Down, Save Lives’ campaign and BRAKE’s ‘Safe, not 60’ campaign for safe rural roads.
Speeding covers a wide range of behaviours, from ‘racing’ and alcohol-influenced speeding to ‘running late’ or ‘everyone else is doing it’ excuses that result in a culture that tolerates speeding. We keep up to date with behaviour change research to ensure that our own work is guided by best practice. A common assumption is that ‘shock’ tactics will persuade people not to speed. Research, though, shows that this approach doesn’t always work as expected and may indeed result in unintended consequences (by normalising dangerous driving, for example). Current approaches favour ‘pro-social’ messages that frame safe speeds as socially desirable (normalising a culture of safety). The archive of THINK! campaigns illustrates the changes in road safety messaging over time. We will consider how to ensure that our communications about speeding are tailored to specific audiences, drawing on published research into effective behaviour change communication to ensure that the right messages get to the right drivers in the right way.
The West Yorkshire Safe Roads Partnership oversees speed-related communications at a regional level (including local radio, social media and local tv). It also makes use of media content produced by the DfT, which ties in with the National Police Chiefs Campaign calendar.
We will see how we could make better use of existing campaign resources and develop new materials to target specific groups and speeding behaviours and culture effectively. We will consider, for example, whether longer campaigns may be more effective than short bursts of communications.
Resources such as the SID machines, virtual reality goggles, a reaction timer showing stopping distances at different speeds and a ‘Spot the Difference’ game are used in education settings (schools, colleges and youth intervention groups), and with community groups where speeding is an issue, as well as at public events. When possible, neighbourhood police support this work. Moving forward, these need to be used more consistently and with a more co-ordinated approach for using these and other resources, and to identify further resources that could help eliminate dangerous speeds.
Explore solutions to achieve safe speeds
We will look for new ways to stop people from speeding and promote those where there is evidence that they will help us to achieve Vision Zero. We may be able to:
- partner with experts to carry out research
- investigate cost-effective treatments including road markings, signs and layouts to slow traffic
- support changes to the law to use emerging enforcement technology
- use new technology such as radar and timer sensors near traffic lights to identify potential risk sites
- participate in trials for treatments or new technology
- work with insurance companies to incentivise safe driving.
The partnership will continue to monitor the outcomes of speed enforcement, use automatic counters to identify where speeding is a problem and work out where other work (such as speed cameras, changes to speed limits and engineering) is needed.
Collaborate with communities and businesses
Drivers who speed, including at lower speed limits such as 20mph, create an environment that is threatening, frightening and intimidating. Their behaviour is not only dangerous, but also fits the definition of anti-social behaviour (‘likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress’). Speed is regularly identified as a significant road danger concern at a local level. Families tell us that fast traffic is why they will not allow their children to walk or cycle to school alone.
Residents, local members and neighbourhood police teams are a valuable source of local insight. This can help us to understand where and when speeding is a problem, who is most affected by it and the wider impact on communities. They can suggest locations for measures such as safety cameras, fixed speed indicator devices, speed limit changes, road signs and markings, and may offer ideas about how to change the road designs to discourage or physically constrain speeding and other dangerous driver behaviours. These suggestions can be helpful when funds become available for new or planned schemes, at which point road safety improvements will need to be considered and prioritised, as stated in the Streetscape Space Allocation Policy.
We are more likely to achieve city-wide compliance with speed limits if we have the support of the public. We will develop a ‘Community Speed Action Pack’ to include information including how to report speed-related concerns and how to request measures such as cameras, SID machines and changes to the speed limit. Partnership with businesses and other organisations
Our work around speeding need to reach as many drivers as possible. We will consider how to make greater use of our networks to reach business leaders and to develop bespoke speed-related initiatives to support their staff. Employers in Leeds who have their own fleet may be willing to review internal protocols to reduce staff speeding and influence traffic safety culture. This would also offer an opportunity to promote alternative forms of work-related transport, such as e-cargo bikes, if appropriate, as well as other car-free travel modes.
We will seek opportunities to work with groups including insurance companies and driving instructors to identify ways they can help us with data, information regarding attitudes and behaviour-change campaigns. Examples could include using data from black box technology or communicating Vision Zero and Safe System approaches to new drivers, and work with partners to carry out evidence-based enforcement.
Leading by example
With around 33,000 employees, the council is one of the largest employers in West Yorkshire, and it has a fleet of more than 1,300 vehicles. Collectively, as a partnership, there are many non-emergency vehicles that could be retrofitted with in-vehicle technology to limit vehicle speed. We could also consider whether new vehicle contracts might include this technology as standard in future.
6. Safe Roads
We will reduce the dominance of motor vehicles on our local streets and create roads that are safe for all users:
- create space that is safe to walk, wheel, scoot and cycle
- develop a network of safe routes to connect people and places
- create road environments that cut crash frequency
Roads that are designed to serve traffic ahead of humans ‘tell’ all road-users that cars are more important than people. Wider, straighter roads imply that it’s OK to go faster and that the priority is to move cars quickly and conveniently. Changes to the Highway Code, signs, speed limits and so on cannot offset car-centric road design that, by prioritising people in motor vehicles, increases risks for those who are not.
Responsibility for roads in Leeds
Leeds City Council, as the local highway authority, has a legal duty under section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain, manage and improve its section of the road network. That means all A-roads (major through-routes), the minor roads that link to the road framework (B-roads and C-roads) and unclassified roads (local roads for local traffic in rural and urban settings, and rural lanes). Motorways and trunk roads (known collectively as the ‘strategic road network) are maintained by National Highways.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is responsible for the legal framework for this. It sets criteria for speed limits and provides some of the funding (via the West Yorkshire Combined Authority) for improving and maintaining local roads, for example. Other funding for this comes from Leeds City Council revenue.
The 1988 Road Traffic Act puts a statutory duty on Leeds City Council to study road traffic collisions and to take steps to reduce and prevent these. This Vision Zero strategy shows how we will do that.
Maintaining safe routes
Road conditions contribute to very few high-severity collisions. Our current maintenance programmes include:
- winter maintenance
- road resurfacing
- measuring the skidding risk of wet roads.
As part of the move to Vision Zero, our maintenance teams will review resources and identify improvements to prevent collisions directly caused by road conditions. We will also make it easier for the public to report maintenance issues on footpaths, cycle routes and roads.
Where collisions occur on roads in Leeds
KSI collisions in Leeds by road type, 2017-2021
|Road class||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021||Total KSI||% KSI|
KSI collisions in Leeds by road characteristic, 2017-2021
|Road characteristic||% of KSI collisions|
KSI collisions in Leeds by junction type, 2017-2021
|Junction type||% of KSI collisions|
Not at junction
T or staggered
Between 2017 and 2021 73% of fatal and serious crashes happened on single carriageways, 58% on unclassified roads.
From this data, most crashes that result in death or serious injury appear to happen on stretches of single carriageway local roads; we need to analyse this data further to find out more about what is going on, and why, so that we can eliminate this risk.
Create safe spaces to walk, wheel, scoot and cycle
Leeds City Council’s Transport Strategy sets out our ambition to ‘be a city where you don’t need a car.’ We want more people to use sustainable transport such as buses and trains and ‘active travel’ such as walking, scooting and cycling – greener, cleaner, healthier ways of getting about. The more people who feel that it is safe to walk and cycle, the fewer cars there will be on the road, and that should reduce road danger.
Here are examples of what we can do to reduce the dominance of vehicles and create streets for active travel:
Re-allocate street space
Fear of traffic and the dominance of cars is one of the main reasons people do not want to cycle or walk (especially when it comes to allowing children to travel to school alone.)
The new Leeds Streetscape Space Allocation policy (one of the commitments in the above Transport Strategy) sets out an updated approach to thinking about road design in Leeds and is an important mechanism to achieve Vision Zero. It heralds a change in emphasis about how highways projects should apportion street space (including roads and pavements) away from prioritising travel by car. The policy incorporates Vision Zero principles and recognises that appropriate designs and physical constraints on speed can eliminate the potential for serious road death and injury. It incorporates the March 2022 changes to the Highway Code, which prioritise the safety of those who walk, scoot, cycle or use wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
The policy includes a set of points and opportunities that planners and design engineers need to consider when they make decisions about how to allocate street space. It acknowledges that space is a finite resource and that there may be a need for compromise, but emphasises that, in those circumstances, “the aspirations set out in the Transport Strategy and Leeds Vision Zero 2040 should be paramount”. The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership will work with Leeds City Council transport strategy leaders to support the implementation of this policy across the city, so that the elimination of risk of fatal and serious injury is central to all future highways works.
As well as internal policies like this one, we also need to take into account national guidance such as the DfT’s new national Manual for Streets (to be published in late 2022), LTN 1/20 and Inclusive Mobility guidelines.
In 2020, Leeds City Council introduced three ‘liveable neighbourhoods’. These enclosed clusters of residential streets near main roads discourage drivers from rat-running through residential streets, reducing traffic volumes and speeds to make the local streets safer for everyone. Planters and signs change the layouts of roads and re-allocate space. This means that children can play safely near their homes and other residents can use the space without being exposed to road danger, promoting walking and cycling and helping to make the air cleaner. Residents, businesses, deliveries and emergency vehicles can still get in. We will work with communities to consider new locations for similar initiatives.
In the city centre, we have removed vehicular traffic from Greek Street, Cookridge Street and around the Corn Exchange so that people can feel safe walking and cycling there. We are doing the same around City Square, which will also be closed to traffic. This concept will be expanded over time into other streets in Leeds, supporting the Leeds Transport Strategy ambition to remove traffic from the city centre. This will reduce the potential for road-user conflict that can lead to serious or fatal crashes, making the city centre safer for everyone and helping to achieve Leeds Vision Zero 2040.
In 2020, we launched School Streets at 14 sites across Leeds as part of a trial. The aim was to see whether restricting traffic directly outside schools for a short time at the start and end of the day could encourage more families to walk, scoot or cycle to school.
We will learn from the School Streets trial and evaluation to develop a future programme to identify new sites that may be appropriate to be School Streets (not all are suitable – schools on bus routes, for example). We have funding for the financial year 2023-24 to do this and will also seek new ways to fund this work in the future.
Develop a network of safe routes to connect people and places
As well as the targeted intervention measures listed above, we also need to create safe walking and cycling routes that stretch across the city and between settlements. Networks that connect wider areas while avoiding conflict with traffic will encourage more people to travel on foot or on a bike. This in turn will cut traffic levels and reduce the number of crashes.
Safe walking and cycling routes
Leeds City Council was chosen to develop and trial a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). We used this to identify the need for cycling and walking infrastructure and to work out where to prioritise investment, to accelerate the building of segregated cycle lanes and wider pavements for example.
The canal has long offered some off-road cycling and walking, but it was the introduction of the Cycle Superhighway between Bradford and East Leeds that signalled a move towards a network of fully segregated cycle routes. Government grants funded that initial route, which has since been supplemented by the Combined Authority’s City Connect Programme. We recently added ‘wand orcas’, a ‘light-touch’ way of creating a lane for bicycles, on parts of Kirkstall Road, Roseville Road and the A660. This involved work on some of our existing cycle network. We will work with communities to consider new locations for this treatment.
Government commitments to promoting cycling result in more funding, which is tied to requirements for these routes to be segregated, connected and safe. The cycle network in Leeds is being expanded through the Levelling Up Fund, the Active Travel Fund and the West Yorkshire Mayor’s City Region Sustainable Transport Fund. The aspiration for a connected and fully segregated cycle network is taking shape on the ground and will continue to evolve to help transform the way people travel in Leeds.
Advanced stop lines (ASLs) provide a safe space for cyclists at traffic signals and allow them to set off ahead of the flow of motorised vehicles. There is potential for further ASLs to be added during signal refurbishment, maintenance and other works.
Leeds City Council has introduced technology at a number of pedestrian crossings to make the lights change automatically when pedestrians and cyclists approach. As well as cutting waiting times, this also makes it easier for people with mobility challenges to use crossings as there is no need to press a button. Sensor technology in some locations now also extends the ‘green man’ signal so that there’s more time to cross, assisting those with impaired mobility, parents with young children or pushchairs, and those crossings with occasional higher volumes of pedestrians (e.g. near schools) where it can take longer for pedestrians to start crossing. Cycle clearance times are being increased at some existing crossings.
We want to install more of this technology at existing crossings in Leeds so that more people find it safer and less stressful to cross roads. There is also a programme to put signal (pedestrian) phases into junctions where necessary, and we will make it easier for people to request these.
New pedestrian crossings
Each year, we look into all requests from the public or elected members for new pedestrian crossings, and we then work out where to prioritise and install new crossings. The review of requests is conducted in line with the Crossing Assessment Framework and considers the difficulty of crossing and existing pedestrian demand, overall benefits and disbenefits of the potential provision for pedestrians and residents and businesses, as well as impact on road safety. The process has recently been amended and involves a site assessment, highway assessment, road safety history analysis and traffic / pedestrian analysis. Then we decide whether to recommend a crossing and, if so, which type.
This work has been funded from the Local Transport Plan (LTP) Transport Policy Capital Programme (now the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, CRSTS). Other crossing proposals (such as those funded by developers) are considered as part of the planning process. We will continue this work and ensure that people know they can easily ask us to consider new pedestrian crossings.
Safe crossings for horse-riders
Street design should consider the crossing facility requirements for all road-users, including those on horseback. ‘Pegasus’ signal-controlled crossings make it easier and safer for horse-riders to cross roads. We have begun to develop links with specialist organisations such as the British Horse Society and will continue to build these relationships to ensure their needs are considered at new and existing crossing points on our networks.
Other crossing/traffic signal technology
There has been a recent introduction of cameras to identify banned turns at some traffic signals. These are important at sites where the movements have been banned to help active travel. The partnership supports further use of these cameras, as well as trialling sensor technology to detect near misses and red-light running. We will also be following guidance from the Department for Transport to use powers to enforce moving traffic restrictions, using camera technology.
Variable message signs (VMS) and other displays
The electronic signs displayed on roads (used by the Urban Traffic Management and Control team (UTMC) for driver updates) can also display messages about road safety. Larger private advertisement displays may offer another option for communication.
School crossing patrols
Many schools in Leeds offer the service of a school crossing patrol (lollipop man/lady) to help children cross roads outside schools. Leeds City Council checks whether applications for school crossing patrols are in line with national policy to determine where to allocate resources. Following a recent review, we know that we need to ensure that schools are aware of this process. The Safe Roads Partnership will also work closely with the school crossing patrol service to offer alternative interventions to schools whose applications are unsuccessful.
Public transport infrastructure
Better, more connected bus infrastructure means faster, more reliable buses that make it easier for people to get around without a car, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the road and helping to remove traffic danger from roads in Leeds.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority is responsible for regional public transport work, including mass transit.
Major programmes, including those resulting from the Leeds Public Transport Infrastructure Plan (LPTIP), will dramatically improve public transport across the region. Fully segregated bus routes along the main routes into the city and within the city centre have already been built. The remaining ‘gaps’ will be filled through works that will happen as and when funds become available (for example via the Transforming Cities Fund and via Active Travel England). The result will eventually be a fully connected network across the city.
Decisions about which schemes to prioritise already consider road danger imperative. The high casualty rate at Lawnswood roundabout, for example, was a key factor in the decision to implement work on bus lanes to improve public transport times.
Illegal and inconsiderate parking
Illegal and inconsiderate (including pavement) parking is often reported as a road safety issue and presents a challenge for pedestrians, including people with disabilities and parents / carers with young children, prams or pushchairs. Obstructions on the pavement can force pedestrians onto the road, putting them at risk. For others, obstructions on the pavement can result in them feeling unsafe to travel independently, resulting in social isolation and preventing a more active lifestyle.
Parking in cycle lanes also causes danger and difficulty for people on bikes. Mechanisms are in place for members of the public to report nuisance or obstructive parking (via West Yorkshire Police) and parking infringements, such as parking on double yellow lines (via Leeds City Council’s Parking Enforcement team). We will use our various communication channels to make sure people are aware of how to report these issues. We know that people who do report illegal and inconsiderate parking sometimes feel frustrated because they feel that nothing happens, or that nothing changes. We need to make sure that people know how reports are handled, how actions in relation to these are prioritised and what they can expect to happen.
We will also implement recommendations arising from the government’s Pavement Parking consultation (November 2020).
Create safe road environments that cut crash frequency
There are a number of ways to support safe speeds and prevent crashes through this pillar. Here are some of existing initiatives. Other actions in this strategy, the Leeds Transport Strategy and our design guides further support this area of work. The detailed analysis that we would like to do will also feed into and develop these programmes. We need to learn about new and innovative ways to make our roads safer, try new approaches, participate in trials and learn about interventions that have been successful from other parts of the UK and overseas.
Casualty Prevention Programme
The Casualty Prevention Programme identifies the most dangerous areas (previously called ‘sites and lengths of concern’), to prioritise remedial measures to make these safe. We recently changed the criteria to a new, lower threshold. This means we can take a more holistic approach and include ‘lower-order’ clusters. We will be able to build a better picture of the underlying causes across a wider area and work out where best to implement small and medium scale interventions that will help to prevent more serious collisions.
Design Review Panel
We will propose that Leeds City Council adopts a Vision Zero approach to all future scheme decisions from the very earliest stages. We will request that representatives of the Leeds Safe Roads Partnership or the Leeds Vision Zero expert panel be actively involved both at the preliminary stages and at every key design gateway as a scheme evolves, potentially as part of a new Design Review Panel. This will help ensure compliance with Vision Zero objectives throughout the design and implementation process of any cycling, walking or public transport schemes.
Road safety audits
The road safety audit process is an independent review of the road safety implications of highways schemes. An audit seeks to identify any elements of a scheme that could lead to a collision and suggests modifications to mitigate any issues. Leeds Highways and Transportation will carry out a road safety audit at four stages of a highway scheme, from preliminary design to 12 months after completion.
Sustrans promotes the introduction of traffic-free routes, ‘quiet lanes’ and ‘greenways’ by using different ways to develop traffic-free routes, including acquiring land, creating a Public Right of Way, or entering legal arrangements with the highway or other authority.
Motorbikes in bus lanes trial
A trial to allow motorcycles (including scooters and mopeds) to use the A65 bus lanes between Kirkstall and Leeds city centre was introduced in July 2022. The trial will run for a year, to promote motorcycling as an alternative to car travel and improve safety for motorcyclists.
The impact of this trial on the safety of motorcyclists and other road-users will be monitored to inform a decision on whether to make this change permanent and potentially introducing this elsewhere.
Work in partnership for safer motorways around Leeds
Between 2017 and 2021, crashes on the strategic road network around Leeds killed or seriously injured 93 people, accounting for 6.2% of all the total number of KSIs. National Highways, who are responsible for this ‘strategic road network’ (SRN), regularly analyse collision data to identify areas of concern. Their actions to address this are set out in the National Highways Regional Road-user Safety Plan for Yorkshire and the North East. We will continue to work with National Highways to achieve Vision Zero.
7. Safe Vehicles
We will encourage the use of safe vehicles to reduce the likelihood of crashes and severity of outcome:
- raise awareness about responsibility for roadworthy vehicles
- enforce vehicle safety and illegal vehicle offences
- use and promote technology and design features that increase safety
- lobby for and support improvements to vehicle standards
The Leeds Transport Strategy’s ambition for Leeds to be a city where you don’t need a car will help to remove some of the danger posed by motor vehicles. All vehicles that use our transport networks must be as safe as possible, in order to keep the inherent risk that they pose to all road-users, including occupants, to a minimum.
Vehicle safety can help us to achieve Vision Zero in many ways, particularly in relation to safety features, maintenance, technology and design. This pillar therefore covers matters such as roadworthiness (tyre tread, lights, wipers, brake systems), behaviour (safe loading, maintenance, checks) technology (alerts for seatbelts, lane discipline, steering wheel handling) and design (height, line of sight). Safe vehicles, like the other pillars, cannot achieve Vision Zero in isolation. This pillar comprises just one part of a Safe System, since vehicles are only as safe as other elements such as the design and condition of the road they are on and the actions of the driver at the wheel. We recognise that much of the responsibility for this area lies with national government, regulatory bodies and manufacturers. However, there are actions that the partnership can carry out to contribute to improvements in vehicle standards and safety.
Raising awareness about responsibility for roadworthy vehicles
Drivers may postpone simple checks such as tyre tread and pressure, which will affect a vehicle’s performance and safety (emergency stopping distance in bad weather, for example). It’s not just about the few collisions where it’s clear to police that vehicle defects contributed to the outcomes. Even routine habits such as keeping windows and lights clean, checking winter readiness or storing luggage in the boot can make a difference. National Highways, who conduct checks at vehicle breakdowns on motorways and other strategic network roads. are particularly concerned about poorly loaded vehicles largely in relation to commercial vehicles. Drivers who keep within the load limit and who tether loads safely help to keep others safe, too.
In Leeds, the main vehicle defects recorded as contributory factors in fatal or serious-injury collisions were:
- defective tyres, brakes, lights/indicators, steering or suspension;
- overloaded or poorly loaded vehicles.
Whether it’s a truck, car, bike or motorbike or other vehicle, it’s the user’s responsibility to carry out checks and ensure their vehicle is safe. Seatbelts and child seats also play a significant role here (see 4.1).
Every year, national campaigns raise awareness about the importance of vehicle safety. Key events include Tyre Safety Month and the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) campaigns such as Commercial Vehicles Week. National Highways also deliver campaigns and lead operations on the strategic network relating to vehicle roadworthiness. We will use our comms channels to promote key national and regional messages, alongside local, evidence-led vehicle safety campaigns.
Enforcing vehicle safety and illegal vehicles offences
An MOT is the annual test of vehicle safety, and it is illegal to drive a vehicle without one. It is also illegal to drive a vehicle with defects such as broken lights, faulty indicators etc. Some vehicles (HGVs, for example) require drivers to have specialist driving licences.
Between July 2020 and August 2021, as part of Operation SPARC, West Yorkshire police dealt with 359 drivers for offences relating to vehicle defects, no MOT, dangerous parts and dangerous loading. They also seized 214 vehicles where the driver either did not have any insurance, a licence or the right type of licence for the vehicle.
Police or officers from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can stop and carry out spot-checks on commercial drivers (lorries, buses and coaches). If necessary, they will issue prohibitions that will prevent the driver from working until any problems have been sorted out. They can also issue fixed or graduated penalties for offences. We will consider whether there are further opportunities to collaborate usefully with DVSA in future or lobby for those changes.
Using technology to prevent collisions
Safety features, technology and overall design can mitigate risk to some extent. They can protect drivers and passengers inside the vehicle, reduce injury severity for other road-users and promote safe driving behaviours.
An abundance of safety features such as good tyre treads, effective brakes, anti-lock braking systems, working lights and windscreen wipers help drivers to anticipate, avoid and respond safely to hazards. In-vehicle technology such as reversing technology, lane assist, black boxes, blind-spot and temperature warning and collision warnings all help, too. If a crash does happen, features such as airbags, seatbelts, safely secured loads and correctly fitted child seats will help to reduce injury severity.
Overall design can make the roads safer, too. A driver who can clearly see the road in front of the bonnet is less of a threat than a driver of a large, high vehicle whose view is restricted or obscured and therefore poses a threat to others, especially to small children. We will consider how further to use inputs such as blind-spot awareness, ‘exchanging places’ initiatives (where, for example, HGV drivers swap places with a cyclist) and so on. In-vehicle technology can reduce insurance costs and support safe driving. Dashcams (see Operation SNAP), for example, can help to establish if an offence has been committed and help to bring justice.
Examples of technology to prevent collisions and reduce their severity
Safer in-car behaviour:
- Limiting speed using intelligent speed assistance (ISA)
- Dash cameras and camera monitor systems
- Black box technology
Reducing impact severity:
- Seatbelts/child restraints
- Advanced emergency braking (AEB)
Protecting other road-users:
- Geometric design for vulnerable road users
- Occupant friendly interiors
- Visual / acoustic warnings
- Information, warning and intervention systems
Leading by example
The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership will lead by example and ensure that our own vehicles (e.g. minibuses, fleet and so on) have the highest standards of safety features. Leeds City Council, for example, increasingly uses tools such as telematics for its own vehicles. We may be able to support research and development in this area. Leeds aims to take a lead in the use of new technology in vehicles and we will put ourselves forward to participate in vehicle safety pilot projects.
The public must be safe and comfortable when travelling in a licensed vehicle, and so we will license only those vehicles that meet our conditions and MOT standards. West Yorkshire Police neighbourhood policing teams (NPTs) work closely with the taxi and private hire licensing team to improve the safety of those vehicles. We will also work with the team to promote vehicle safety standards (such as Euro NCAP) and to continue their rigorous programme of vehicle safety checks.
Encouraging businesses and fleet operators to use safe vehicles
We will draw the attention of partners and other organisations to the many benefits of improving the safety of their fleets, including protecting staff from injury while driving for work and reducing insurance costs. We will encourage them to consider national vehicle safety schemes and to buy, hire and use vehicles with high safety specs (such as technology) to help their staff to drive more safely, and to reduce the risk and severity of collisions. In-vehicle technology such as dashcams can provide evidence should there be a crash, and capture video evidence of dangerous driving by others to submit to the police. We will encourage them to share key messages with their own stakeholders, using their own channels. Potential partners include the Travel Plan Network, Chamber of Commerce and fleet operators across the city, as well as other contracts such as car clubs.
There is an opportunity for us to link with driving instructors and insurance companies to help spread the word among about technology such as ‘black boxes’, which collect data about driving behaviour and adjust the cost of insurance accordingly, especially for younger drivers (17-24) who are, per mile driven, more likely to crash than more experienced drivers.
Supporting changes to vehicle standards to reduce crash likelihood and severity
Vehicle standards and technology have changed rapidly over the last 20 years and continue to do so. The partnership will continue to promote the benefits of new vehicle safety technology to partners, fleet operators and the public in general.
8. Post-collision learning and care
We will raise awareness of and learn from the devastating harm crashes cause to victims, their loved ones and the community:
- learn from crash investigation and share and act upon findings
- raise awareness of support services for victims and others impacted
- advocate for justice for victims of road collisions where there is crime or other culpability.
The response following a collision can mean the difference between a slight injury and a serious one, between life and death. Early intervention care and support, delivered sensitively, professionally and appropriately, can help victims, families, friends and all those directly and indirectly affected by a crash. We need to consider all the possible ways in which we can support this stage of Vision Zero to save lives and eliminate serious injuries.
If the Safe System works, there will be no need for this pillar, but it is needed while we work to achieve our vision.
A partnership response
The sooner a victim gets medical attention, the better. Every second counts. When a 999 call is made, a decision will be made about whether it is a Category 1 or 2 situation.
- CAT 1 call: If the casualty is unconscious or not breathing, the aim is to get there in 7 mins.
- CAT 2 call: For injuries that are serious but not life-threatening, the aim to get there in 18 mins.
Emergency response times also depend on other factors, including the number of calls received for the same incident, traffic congestion and other demands on the service.
The emergency services are subject to response standards and quality indicators. They work continually to identify ways to improve the response time to road collisions and minimise the time between the crash happening and providing medical care.
West Yorkshire Police (WYP), Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) work together to preserve life when a road traffic collision occurs.
The Yorkshire Ambulance Service may send:
- paramedic resource to assess, treat and transport casualties
- critical care paramedics for advanced assessment and treatment of more serious injuries
- an operational commander for scene-management if there are multiple casualties
- the Yorkshire Air ambulance
- British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS) doctors to help
- specially trained paramedics from the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), that have extended training and equipment to allow assessment and treatment in hazardous areas.
WYP may send district officers and dedicated roads policing specialists. These officers are trained and equipped to:
- take control of, preserve and manage a collision scene
- deliver and co-ordinate emergency first-aid
- work with other emergency services
- take appropriate investigative action including witness and scene management and breathalyser/drug testing procedures
- administer specialist emergency tactical medical (tac-med) intervention techniques including defibrillation.
The WYP’s Major Collision Enquiry Team (MCET) will attend the scene if the incident is reported as a fatal or potentially fatal collision.
The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service protect people from serious harm in road traffic collisions. All appliances are equipped to deal with road collisions and officers provide:
- scene safety including fire, fuel and chemical spills
- vehicle and casualty stabilisation
- hydraulic cutting equipment and extrication
It is important that people responding to road traffic collisions receive training and support to ensure they can deal with the situations that they might have to face.
Some respondents to our consultation raised concern that changes to infrastructure, road space re-allocation or measures to reduce speed have a negative impact on response times for emergency vehicles. Leeds City Council works closely with emergency services before and during the implementation of these schemes to achieve the common goals of improved infrastructure, increased active travel, lowered speeds and response time targets.
Learning from collision investigation
Post-collision learning takes place after a crash has occurred. While it may be too late for the victims, every crash offers a unique opportunity to identify factors that, in some way, large or small, may have contributed towards the final moment of impact – and how they amplified each other. By investigating what happened in a collision, we can learn what we could do to stop the same thing happening again and work out whether someone has broken the law.
Fatal crashes trigger investigations by different bodies such as the police, the coroner and the council. These overlap to a degree, which may seem confusing. Their purposes, though, differ:
- The police, Crown Prosecution Service and criminal courts identify and punish wrongdoing and deter others from committing traffic offences.
- Coroners help families to understand what happened and highlight lessons to be learned from a crash.
- Safeguarding professionals consider how the crash affects other people (siblings, for example).
- Learning from collisions includes finding out about how the interface between roads and human behaviour; we will work with colleagues and partners to look at how behaviour change work can help drivers interact more safely with the road network.
West Yorkshire Police and Major Collision Enquiry Team (MCET)
In Leeds, WYP are responsible for investigating collisions. The UK has investigation branches for rail, aviation and maritime casualties. There is, however, no equivalent for roads, even though they account for many more injuries and deaths. Brake, a road safety charity, calls for a Road Collision Investigation Branch to be established to:
- recommend effective measures to stop deaths and injuries;
- support the police to pursue excellence in their crash investigations;
- develop standards and expertise in collision investigation, data recording and analysis.
For potential fatal and fatal road traffic collisions, the West Yorkshire Police Major Collision Enquiry Team (MCET) will conduct the investigation. These officers prepare the evidence needed for any criminal investigation. These specially trained officers and staff will investigate the cause of the collision, gather evidence and present the case to the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service), which ultimately decides on any prosecution though the criminal court process. The offence of ‘causing death by dangerous driving’ is a crime equivalent in law to manslaughter.
Leeds City Council
Leeds City Council works with the MCET team to identify and rectify any defects on the highway that may have contributed to major collisions. We will review our approach to this area of post-collision investigation and work with the police to identify behaviours and other factors that may have contributed to the crash and use this insight to recommend other actions that could help to prevent future tragedies.
The Coroner for Leeds
Coroners have a statutory duty to investigate all violent or unnatural deaths and will therefore conduct inquests into all road traffic fatalities (which are usually both violent and unnatural). A coroner relies on evidence from the police and other emergency services, and so it is usual for them to open and adjourn an inquest while they wait for the outcome of any criminal prosecution. The purpose of a coroner’s inquest is to establish ‘how the deceased came by his/her death’ (it is not about blame or compensation). The inquest will establish these issues on the ‘balance of probability’ (not by the more stringent standards of criminal courts.) Significantly, the bereaved family is at the centre of an inquest. Members of the family have a legal right to see documents and question witnesses, either themselves or through legal representatives.
A subsidiary role for the inquest is to extract lessons. If a coroner is concerned that another death may occur in similar circumstances, a ‘Prevention of Future Deaths Report’ (PFD, also known as a ‘Regulation 28 report) can be made to any organisation or individual that has the power to take remedial action. The coroner cannot compel anyone to act, but rather draws attention to a situation that causes concern. PFD reports may relate to matters such as road design, lighting or signage, or features relating to the vehicles involved. Consultation with the Coroner for Leeds has identified potential ways for Leeds City Council to help reduce delays in the investigation (such as sharing collision data).
Child Death Overview Panel
If a crash kills a child under 18, the Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood (SUDIC) team responds to identify any immediate learning and support for the family. A police liaison officer and SUDIC paediatricians will often visit parents at home together to answer questions and give information about further support. Schools across Leeds can also help siblings and request further specialist support if needed.
The outcome of this meeting is then presented to the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP). This is a panel of key professionals from the local authority and other organisations. It includes the Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, West Yorkshire Police, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Social Care, Leeds Community Health Care Trust and Public Health. Council officers from Highways and Transportation will be invited to help the panel develop any recommendations for the city.
The panel will use all the other information available, along with any other relevant information it has requested, to:
- establish what happened in the lead up to the fatality
- identify any local patterns
- work out what can be learned to prevent further deaths
- identify appropriate actions, interventions or recommendations
- ensure that families are appropriately supported.
The CDOP produces an annual report of all child deaths it has reviewed. This is available online.
Listening to victims and bereaved people
At Scrutiny Board in October 2021, three parents whose children were killed by road crashes shared powerful testimony. We will explore how to best to work alongside bereaved families to achieve change, guided by them as well as by bereavement and trauma specialists where appropriate.
Road Safety Investigation Branch
In June 2022, the government announced plans for the creation of a Road Safety Investigation Branch (RSIB). The independent, safety-focused branch will carry out investigations to identify themes of road collisions and other incidents of concern and make recommendations to prevent future incidents. The branch will also provide vital insights into safety trends related to new and evolving technologies. Measures to enable the creation of the branch will be included in the forthcoming Transport Bill. We will explore how to best to work alongside the RSIB.
Raising awareness of support services for victims
For the most serious and fatal collisions, the impact on victims, the bereaved and many others is devastating. For those who survive as well as for those who love and care for them, life may never be the same again.
The impact of a life-changing or fatal road traffic collision is profound and extensive, generating a raft of practical, procedural and emotional challenges for those affected. Raising awareness of appropriate services to provide support is critical to address immediate, short term and long-term challenges. The ripple effects of a life-changing or fatal collision may be felt by:
- the victim/s
- parents and carers, siblings, other relatives – grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins etc
- close friends and wider friendship/social groups of all those affected
- neighbours and local residents
- faith communities, clubs, sports etc with connections
- nursery / school / college / university community – children, students, teachers, other staff
- work / professional community – colleagues, teams, workplace friends
- all the other people involved in the collision, those who saw what happened, witnessed the aftermath or tried to help
- people who work for the emergency services – police officers, fire and rescue officers, paramedics
- the medical and health care professionals involved, at every stage and level, providing physical, mental and emotional care and support
- the professionals involved providing other kinds of support – financial, charities, legal services, investigative teams, local authority officers
- and more.
Family liaison officers
In the event of a sudden, unexpected death, the family or next of kin are likely to receive the initial notification from a uniformed police officer, who will then arrange for early contact with a WYP family liaison officer. These specially trained officers volunteer for this hugely important role. Their involvement with a family may last for months or even years, and the contribution they can make to post-collision care cannot be overstated. Officers can refer people to the National Road Victims Service for additional support.
National Road Victims Service
BRAKE, a national road safety charity, produces bereavement and serious injury guides for families. These are distributed by family liaison officers or professionals (such as those in Major Trauma Centres), who have first contact with road victims. Brake’s accredited, trauma-informed National Road Victim Service (NRVS), funded in part by central government, is free and confidential. Upon referral (people can also self-refer), trained professionals conduct a triage to address any immediate safeguarding needs, working with other organisations as necessary to help victims get appropriate help at this worst possible time. A caseworker then provides support, advocate on behalf of the victim and their family and coordinate care for as long as is needed.
In North Yorkshire, a local National Road Victims Service support worker offers face-to-face support to victims, including help navigating the justice system (see below). Since implementation, demand for this service has grown by more than 500%, and so the service is reaching and supporting more people.
Support and Care After Road Death (SCARD)
Support and Care After Road Death and Injury (SCARD), based in West Yorkshire, is a national charity offering a huge variety of services to those bereaved or affected by a road death or serious injury. It is funded solely by donations and fund-raising activities. Trained volunteers run a free helpline and offer free professional counselling either in-person or online. The charity can also provide access to appropriate professional legal advice and offer support with statements and at inquests. There is a support pack with information covering issues such as counselling support, inquests and police and legal procedures. All staff and volunteers have experience of dealing with the trauma of a road death. The charity offers presentations to schools and businesses about the impact of road death. Every year, it holds an annual Oakleaf Service of Remembrance at Leeds Minster in November for anyone affected by road death or serious injury. In 2021 SCARD was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
RoadPeace is a national charity for road crash victims, offering support to those affected by road crashes through their helpline, befriending service, trauma support programme, local group network and remembrance activities. It has an extensive range of post-crash legal guides that can help families navigate the criminal justice system, and its legal panel provides advice on civil compensation and offers pro bono inquest support. RoadPeace also campaign to improve victims’ rights and the response of the criminal justice system to road danger, and for greater priority to be given to reducing the number of future victims. The North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner recently funded RoadPeace to deliver local support services for victims. These include support groups for bereaved and injured victims, which meet every two months, and a 10-week trauma support programme for bereaved families.
Coroner Support Services
Volunteers from the Coroner Support Service support bereaved families and witnesses attending an inquest. They guide people through the coronial process, explain the role and remit of the coroner and signpost callers to local support agencies. As well as specific services for victims of road collisions, there are also other services. These include:
Advocating for justice for victims of road collisions
No one expects their lives, or the lives of those they love, to be devastated by sudden, violent bodily harm sustained on a road in Leeds. When this does happen, victims and their families must receive timely professional support and advice covering a bewildering number of needs: medical, psychological, social, financial, legal and more.
Navigating the justice system
Those who suffer that fate or receive the news must often navigate the justice system quickly. This can be confusing and traumatic. (Bereaved families may, for example, struggle to understand why a fatal crash may not necessarily be a recordable crime.)
Voluntary support organisations fill this gap and help victims by providing information on the justice system, such as:
- post-collision procedures with police and the coroner
- victims’ rights (as set out in the Victims’ Code, 11.4.5)
- help with victim impact statements
- Coroners Court or Criminal Court attendances
- help seeking compensation for post-traumatic stress, loss of income and hardship.
Victims and close relatives are
entitled to a number of protections and rights under the ‘Victims’ Code’. This is the right to be provided with information and support services, and applies, for example, to the NHS and the police. This code is about to become a Victims’ Law putting the rights of victims into primary legislation. Services for victims of road crashes are, however, seriously underfunded compared to other victim support services.
Using technology for justice
The Safe Vehicles and Safe Behaviours / People pillars advocate for the introduction of in-vehicle technology such as ‘black box’ devices that record and monitor driving behaviour to reduce the risk and severity of collisions. Operation SNAP also uses video and photographic evidence submitted by members of the public to report driving offences, so that the police establish if an offence has been committed. For victims, this footage or data can be used to assist with determining if a road crime has been committed. The MCET team can obtain this data as part of their investigation and help bring justice.
About this version of Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040
This version of the Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 strategy was adopted in September 2022.
This document was developed in collaboration and sets out our initial proposals, based on our collective experience and understanding.
How to get in touch
There are a number of ways for you to contact us and find out more about the work we do.
Write to us:
Influencing Travel Behaviour
Highways and Transportation
8th Floor East
Subscribe to our blog:
Subscribe to the Connecting Leeds blog
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Other formats available
If you would like a copy of this strategy in a different format (large print, braille, audio or in another language), please contact us at
email@example.com or by telephoning 0113 378 7306.
Our thanks go to the following for their expertise, hard work and ongoing commitment to Leeds Vision Zero:
- The Leeds Safe Roads Partnership
- Leeds Vision Zero Expert Panel
- Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member Infrastructure and Climate
- All others who have supported
Advanced emergency braking
Automatic number plate recognition
Advanced stop line
Access User Ability Group
British Association for Immediate Care
British Horse Society
Child Death Overview Panel
Crown Prosecution Service
Collision Reporting and Sharing System
City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement
Department for Transport
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency
General Data Protection Regulation
Hazardous Area Response Team
Heavy goods vehicle – goods vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of over 3.5 tonnes
Intelligent speed assistance
Influencing Travel Behaviour
Leeds Institute of Transport Studies
Key Performance Indicator
Killed or seriously injured
Leeds Anti-social Behaviour Team
Leeds City Council
Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan
Leeds Public Transport Investment Programme
Local Transport Plan
Leeds Safe Roads Partnership
Motorcycle Action Group
Major Collisions Enquiry Team
New car assessment programs
National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme
National Health Service
National Police Chiefs Council
Neighbourhood Policing Teams
National Road Victims Service
Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
Police community support officer
Preventing Future Death (report)
Public Space Protection Order
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Roads Policing Unit
Road Safety Great Britain
Road Safety Investigation Branch
Road traffic collision
Support and Care After Road Death and Injury
Speed indicator device
Supporting Police Action to Reduce Road Casualties
Strategic road network
System for Tasking and Operational Resource Management
Sudden unexpected death in childhood
Taxi and private hire licensing
Variable message sign
Vulnerable road user
West Yorkshire Combined Authority
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
West Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Safe Roads / Partnership
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Deliverable: Publish an annual report to record progress against the strategy aims and actions.
Deliverable: Establish a Vision Zero Expert Panel to share information, learn from best practice and inform our actions. The panel will meet at least every six months.
Deliverable: Respond to policy and other consultations locally, regionally and nationally to incorporate Vision Zero principles.
Deliverable: Develop a revised approach to ranking road safety infrastructure interventions eligible for CRSTS funding to ensure those with greatest benefit are prioritised.
Deliverable: In partnership, explore funding opportunities to identify gaps in post-collision care/support services for victims and their families and emergency services staff in Leeds and West Yorkshire.
Deliverable: Request that West Yorkshire Safe Roads Partnership adopt a data-driven, evidence-based approach to prioritising funded interventions that are most effective at eliminating serious and fatal injuries.
Deliverable: Officer(s) from the council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour road safety team to attend all Community Committees at least once every 12 months.
Deliverable: Engage with organisations that represent road-users who are more likely to be harmed by traffic and organisations that help victims affected by road injury and death, ensuring diversity and equality in our approach, to identify and reduce risks and hazards, deliver education and awareness-raising activities.
Deliverable: Publish collision data annually on the council’s website and on Data Mill North; provide links to other datasets monthly/quarterly.
Deliverable: Set up a Leeds Safe Roads Partnership communications working group in 2023 to coordinate information-sharing about:
Deliverable: Launch a dedicated Leeds Safe Roads website to outline responsibilities for addressing road danger in Leeds, publish data and provide an easy way for people to suggest road safety improvements.
Deliverable: Review the process then publicise and signpost people about how to make requests for/report:
Deliverable: Prepare a community guide about how to deal with local speed problems.
Deliverable: Increase followers/subscribers of the Connecting Leeds blog, Commuter newsletter and social media platform by 5% each year to widen our reach.
Deliverable: Within the next 2 years develop communications campaigns to raise awareness of and grow reach of:
Deliverable: Develop Vision Zero kitemark or programme in partnership with WYSR to encourage and recognise best practice in safe road behaviours and design.
Deliverable: Set up quarterly meetings of the Leeds Safe Roads Partnership Education Delivery Group to:
Deliverable: Increase delivery of cycle lessons to adults and children.
Deliverable: Increase the number of, and expand the reach of, local, regional and national road safety events and campaigns by working in partnership with stakeholders.
Deliverable: In a trauma-informed way, draw on the experiences of victims and their families and all others affected to support behaviour change and post-collision learning and consider how these might support wider communications plan and education.
Deliverable: Develop a programme with partners in health and WYP to educate local champions in communities, schools, nurseries and children’s centres about child car seat legislation (including car-seat fitting sessions) and deliver at least 4 sessions per year from 2023.
Deliverable: Identify who is causing harm, develop and deliver data-led police enforcement operations to tackle dangerous and anti-social behaviours, including the ‘fatal five’, and stolen vehicle offences.
Deliverable: Increase the number of submissions to Operation SNAP to report dangerous driving by 5% each year.
Deliverable: Each year, deliver at least 4 ‘Close Pass’ initiatives with WYP targeting:
Deliverable: With WYP and WYSR, incorporate careless driving to create a ‘Fatal Five’ of road traffic offences, communicate this change and adapt operations accordingly.
Deliverable: West Yorkshire Police, with the support of other partners where appropriate, will continue to address the issue of road death and injury resulting from people driving stolen vehicles and from hit and run crashes.
Deliverable: Work with partners including Public Health, to develop a bespoke programme to support groups most at risk from dangerous driving offences, for example – drug and alcohol addiction services.
Deliverable: Work with health professionals and support organisations to identify appropriate measures to prevent deaths and injuries on our roads from self-harm and apply for grant funding to deliver interventions.
Deliverable: Install technology to detect pedestrians and deploy support to prevent self-harm on the strategic road network.
Deliverable: Review sections of non-motorway roads currently signposted with the national speed limit and consider reducing this to a maximum of 50mph.
Deliverable: Review speed limits on local roads and introduce interventions to support a reduced limit where appropriate.
Deliverable: Identify, assess and submit applications for approval by the West Yorkshire Safety Camera Partnership for:
Deliverable: Complete the installation of 20mph speed limits on all residential streets in Leeds.
Deliverable: Install speed-reduction measures to reduce mean speeds at 20mph sites.
Deliverable: Investigate participating in the National Community Speedwatch programme and deliver through local Neighbourhood Police Teams if supported.
Deliverable: Identify, consider and implement new solutions to speed compliance and build partnerships with experts in this field.
Deliverable: Maximise crossing times for pedestrians, horse-riders and cyclists at all new and refurbished signals and at 5% of existing crossings each year.
Deliverable: Implement advanced stop lines where practical during all refurbishment, maintenance and other works.
Deliverable: Research the effectiveness of VMS messaging in partnership with Leeds Universities and investigate use of other roadside advertising for road safety messages.
Deliverable: Apply for and use powers under Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
Deliverable: Identify sites for sensor technology to detect near misses and red-light running.
Deliverable: Implement the recommendations arising from the government’s Pavement Parking consultation (November 2020) when available.
Deliverable: Evaluate the ‘motorcycles in bus lanes’ trial and expand if appropriate.
Deliverable: Deliver and report on the vehicle safety enforcement programme and compliance checks on the strategic road network.
Deliverable: Participate in available trials of new technology that promotes safe driving, protects occupants inside the vehicle and reduces the risk to road-users outside the vehicle.
Deliverable: Work with WYCA to consider the introduction of a bus safety standard to ensure that the safest buses are driven throughout the district and to reduce casualties on PSVs.
Deliverable: Identify current levels of speed compliance in council and contractor vehicles and
Deliverable: Design a process to collate all recommendations from post-collision investigation reports from WY Police, the Coroner, the Child Death Overview Panel and council’s road safety officers.
Deliverable: In partnership with the Vision Zero Expert Panel, carry out a review of our approach to collision investigation to incorporate best practice learning by 2025.
Deliverable: Work with the Coroner for Leeds to identify ways to share data quickly to reduce delays in the investigation.
This Action Plan accompanies the Leeds Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 strategy that was adopted in September 2022.This document was developed in collaboration with the Leeds Safe Roads Partnership. It is based on our collective experience and understanding, and it sets out our actions until 2025.
We will update the Vision Zero Action Plan every three years to make sure our work is relevant. We will publish a new strategy around 2030.
The Leeds Transport Strategy’s aim is for Leeds to be a city where you don’t need a car. Eliminating fatal and serious injuries will help to achieve this. Safe Roads Vision Zero 2040 Strategy thus supports the Leeds Transport Strategy, and both action plans will be implemented in parallel. Actions around objectives such as mode shift, infrastructure for active travel, ‘School Streets’ and Streetspace reallocation are covered by the Transport Strategy Action Plan. This Vision Zero Action Plan focuses on objectives that directly support the goal of eliminating deaths and serious injuries.
If you would like to get in touch and find out more about the work we do, there are a number of ways to do so.
If you would like a copy of this strategy in a different format (large print, braille, audio or in another language), please contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 0113 378 7306.