The Department’s Road Safety Team spearheaded a campaign, endorsed by leading TT racers Dave Molyneux and Conor Cummins, calling on all road users to play their part in improving road safety with the central message ‘Respect Our Roads’.
Initial figures show the number of collisions fell by around 15% compared with the 2012 TT, from 91 to 77, and there were no fatalities on open roads, compared with 5 during last year’s TT fortnight. While there was a slight increase in the number of serious injury collisions in 2013, fewer resulted in ‘life-changing’ injuries.
Mr Cretney said the early indications were that this year’s TT Road Safety Campaign had helped make the Island’s roads safer for locals and visitors during the festival. He said:
‘A key message during the 2013 TT Road Safety Campaign was “we all have a part to play”, and the statistics suggest the message hit home, as many of our visitors and local motorists played their part in helping us reduce the number of road traffic collisions during the TT.
I would like to thank visitors and locals for playing their part, as well as my Road Safety Team and Operations Division, which worked tirelessly throughout the festival, the police and other emergency services, and everyone who contributed to the reduction in collisions.
Collisions cause devastation and trauma for those involved, and their families and friends, and put pressure on our emergency services at one of the busiest times of the year. The aim of our TT campaigns is simply to reduce the number of collisions by asking motorists to respect the roads, know their limits, know the limits of their car or motorbike, obey the rules of the roads and be aware of other road users. Our appeal for everyone to play their part, which was endorsed by leading riders, appears to have helped us achieve our aim in 2013.'
Mr Cretney added: ‘While I am pleased the figures show a reduction in collisions, and importantly no fatalities, we are not complacent. My Department is already planning further campaigns aimed at improving road safety, and we are committed to working with partner agencies to build on this year’s TT campaign at future events including the forthcoming Manx Grand Prix.’
During the 2013 TT, billboards and posters were placed around the Island promoting the road safety campaign, alongside radio and print advertising including endorsements from racers Conor and Moly calling on motorists to ‘Respect Our Roads’. Mr Cretney said:
‘I would like to thank Conor and Dave for endorsing our campaign. The involvement of riders who are respected and admired helps us get our message across to the fans and I hope even more racers will want to get involved in future road safety campaigns. ‘I also want to ensure our messages reach as many visitors as possible, which is why we will be looking at ways of increasing the delivery of road safety messages in a greater variety of languages on radio during road racing events in future.’
Members of the Road Safety Team were onboard Steam Packet sailings to the Island to promote the message directly to visiting fans using tablets supplied by Sure and attended events such as Peel Day. The team also produced a road safety video with Milwaukee Yamaha racer Conor, which has been viewed almost 6,000 times on the official TT YouTube channel.
In addition to the Road Safety Team’s campaign, the Department’s Operations Division was heavily involved in implementing road safety measures. Ahead of the TT, the Department undertook a significant amount of preparatory work, including painting black and white kerbs, carriageway resurfacing and patching, line recovery and hedge trimming. During the fortnight, the Ellerslie-based Operations team swept the TT course prior to the first practice and before every race session, as well as providing sweeper cover for both the event and dealing with incidents on open roads.
The Department also implemented the Mountain Road one-away system from May 24 to June 10, removing and reinstalling cones and signs prior to and after each practice and race session, and staying in close communication with race control throughout. The one-way system has proven to be instrumental in reducing not only the number of collisions, but also the severity as it removes the risk of head-on collisions.
Chief Constable Gary Roberts added:
‘I am immensely proud of what my officers and our partner teams achieved during TT through skill and hard work. I have spoken to many people – visitors and locals alike – and had many unsolicited messages about the quality of the work that we did. It is clear that people saw the effort that we put in to help make the roads as safe as possible and they also saw that we went about our duties in a positive, good humoured and thoroughly professional way.
For the Constabulary TT was a success, but a qualified one: we won’t be satisfied until casualties are further reduced and until safe roads become the TT norm.’