THE NUMBER of people killed or seriously injured in Rotherham’s roads soared by almost a quarter last year.
The body charged with making our roads safer could not give a specific reason for the big jump in more serious collisions but said “we need to work hard to address this”.
There was a large jump in the number of people classed as seriously injured following a change in recording methods by South Yorkshire Police in 2016, which was reflected in a large jump in the statistics.
But after a slight drop in 2017, this number rose sharply again this year — five times more steeply in Rotherham.
In Rotherham in 2018, 81 people were seriously injured in a car collision, which is 28 more than in 2017, while slight injuries as a result of a car collision dropped by 12.7 per cent.
Joanne Wehrle, South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership manager, said: “Seventeen to 24-year-olds, in particular car drivers and powered-two wheeler riders, continue to be over-represented in the casualty statistics, which is why we are targeting our efforts in this area.
“We will continue to work with schools and colleges in Rotherham to offer free education and training on all aspects of road safety.”
Ms Wehrle welcomed an overall fall in accident numbers — down by around a seventh in per cent in both Rotherham and South Yorkshire — and slight injuries, which dropped by a over fifth in Rotherham and by slightly less across the county.
But she added: “One life lost is one too many and for every fatality, a family is torn apart and their lives turned upside down.
“We will continue to do everything we can to change this and by promoting positive attitudes and behaviour, we can make a big difference to prevent needless pain and suffering.
“However, we can’t do this alone, we need communities, businesses and members of the public to work together to share our roads safely.”
Rotherham Council’s cabinet member for roads and community Safety, Cllr Emma Hoddinott, welcomed the total drop in collisions and the fall in slight injuries but added: “The rise in serious injuries on our roads shows there is still work that can be done.
“To improve road safety, the council has recently rolled out a number of 20mph speed reduction signs around the borough encouraging drivers to reduce their speed when passing schools.
“The scheme is also being extended for another year so more schools can benefit from reduced speed limits.
“We have also launched our local Road Safety Fund, to deliver community schemes across the next three years.”
The figures also show that the number of reported collisions in the county — 3,326 — was at its lowest for almost four decades despite a 2.5 per cent increase in traffic on the county’s roads.
But there was a 40 per cent hike in the number of Rotherham car users seriously hurt or killed (to 84) and a 52 per cent number for motorbike or moped riders.
Serious pedestrian and cyclist casualties dropped by 15.3 per cent and 25 per cent respectively.
SYSRP offers free scooter and moped training for riders aged 16 to 24, young driver training sessions, free first aid courses, primary and secondary school workshops specialist courses for businesses whose staff drive for work.