Politicians, even local ones like me, tend to spend a lot of time on bold initiatives and big capital projects. But, very often there is as much progress to be had from the everyday bread-and-butter business of government as there is from high-profile grand projects.
Our recent road traffic accident figures are a case in point. Recently released by Transport for London (TfL), they show that Kensington and Chelsea had fewer road traffic accidents and injuries in 2015 than in any year since records began in 1990.
In fact, of TfL’s 32 accident categories, we achieved our lowest ever figure in 21 of them. The number of collisions was down. The number of injuries, serious and slight, were down. And even cyclist casualties were down, by 19 per cent, from 189 in 2014 to 153 in 2015, as were pedestrian casualties which decreased by 24, or 14.2 per cent.
It’s all rather remarkable really, especially when you think that since 1990 cars have got bigger and faster, London’s population has got larger and there are many, many more cyclists.
It’s not all down to the Council of course. The accident figures improved elsewhere in London too, though typically not by as much. A lot of factors will have contributed to this deeply welcome news, perhaps even “the better angels of our nature”. But I want to salute our Highways officers who certainly deserve some of the credit.
There has been a quite relentless effort by them, and TfL too, to identify accident blackspots and make improvements. They have also devoted a huge effort to ensuring that the road safety message is heard everywhere and especially in our schools. Down the years the Council has invested millions in these endeavours. These shrinking accident figures make that investment all worthwhile.
But we mustn’t get complacent. There may be future setbacks, but we are determined to remain focussed on trying to get these accidents figures down even further.