Alton Towers

It’s a tragedy when people get maimed in crashes.

A string of unfortunate coincidences (almost always triggered by human error) leads to smashed metal, splintered bone, ripped flesh.

Victims with watershed-friendly “life threatening” and “life changing” injuries. Limbs missing. Days and weeks wired into machines that breathe for them and circulate their blood. Families by their bedside asking unanswerable questions.

Lives shattered.

603 people have been seriously injured or killed in crashes on UK roads in the nine days since the Alton Towers crash. But we don’t care.

There’s no media attention. No pledges to improve. No inquiries. No independent investigations searching for answers like we have for sea, rail and air. Tragedy on the roads is a part of our lives that there is no desire to change. If those four teenagers injured at Alton Towers had instead been hit by a lorry on the B5417 ten minutes before they arrived you wouldn’t have even heard about it.

If there’s any doubt in your mind, tell me how many of these people (killed in the last week of May) you remember:

At around 6:40am on May 28, an as yet unnamed woman was killed when she was struck by a van which then collided with two other vehicles. A little over an hour later, Esther Hartsilver was crushed by an HGV in Camberwell. That afternoon, April Reeves—aged just 7—was killed in front of her family in Weston-super-Mare.

On the same day, a man was left “fighting for his life” in a critical condition in a collision with a car and another—also reported as “fighting for his life”—had to have a bus lifted off of him. Two days later, a fourth fatality: a woman was killed after being struck by a car in Aston Clinton. And another man in a critical condition.

And that’s just people on pedal cycles.

Never mind Alex Weatherley who was killed when struck by a car which left the road, the three people killed on the A421 (including a schoolgirl), David Lister who was killed in a collision with a car in Lackford, Jeannette Dixon who died in Harrow, the motorcyclist who died in Pembrokeshire, John Walsh who died near Bury St Edmunds, Scott McCallum who died on the A90, the teenager who died in County Durham, the man killed and the man left in a critical condition in Harrow, the two-year-old girl killed and boy in critical condition after a car left the road, the woman killed and the several injured on the M73, the man killed on the M74, another man killed on the A90, Thomas Edwards who died on the A3400, the man who died on the M1, the man killed in Northern Ireland, Amar Atwal—aged 12—who died in West Bromwich, the man who died in Somerset when his car left the road, the moped rider killed in Leicester, the man killed in Lancashire when his car left the road, the man killed on the M5, the two people left in a critical condition after being hit by a bus in Glasgow

Beyond the Kerb blog, from the post Them and Theirs

Any of them?

I’ve no real conclusion to this article, and certainly no solution. I hope those involved in the Alton Towers crash recover quickly, and that they are able to get compensation from the company to help rebuild their lives. I’m glad the continued media focus will drive through safety improvements and reduce the chance of something similar happening again.

And I’m sorry if you or a member of your family are one of the 67 people across the UK who haven’t come back home today.


PS: Figures based on annual averages, and post inspired by this thread on CityCyclingEdinburgh.

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