HIGHWAYS bosses in Doncaster have defended their road safety record after figures revealed a rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the town’s streets.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists compared figures for 2006-07 with 2010-11 which showed 0.69 per cent of people were either killed or seriously injured in road smashes.
Doncaster was one of only 14 councils in the country where the figure went up.
The IAM used average figures across two years because they believe individual years can be subject to fluctuations.
The most recent figure includes a spell in December 2010 and January 2011, during which six teenagers died in two separate crashes.
Jonathan Scott and Robert Tepper, both aged 17, and 16-year-old Lauren Birkett, died after the Corsa they were travelling in spun out of control into an oncoming car on Adwick Road, Mexborough, on December 27, 2010.
Michael Gallagher, from Warmsworth, aged 16, 15-year-old Tom Hughes, from Bessacarr, and Antonia Browne, aged 14, from Balby, died when a car they were travelling in came off the A630 in Warmsworth a month later.
Peter Dale, Doncaster Council director of regeneration and environment, said: “Doncaster saw huge decreases in the numbers of killed and serious injuries on the roads during the 1980s and 1990s.
“This has meant reductions in more recent years have been challenging, particularly when Doncaster experiences the highest levels of traffic in South Yorkshire.
“However, particular success has been achieved in reducing child casualties, which have almost halved over the last decade.
“We continue to invest heavily in road safety improvement initiatives based around engineering, enforcement and education activity, and more so in partnership with colleagues across South Yorkshire to share best practice and resources. Provisional figures for the current year are indicating significant progress.”
However, the figures have sparked concern among those who have lost loved ones.
Cath McDermott, whose grandson Kyle McDermott, seven, died after being the victim of a hit-and-run collision on Maple Road, Mexborough, in 2006, said: “They reduced the speed limit to 20mph after Kyle died - but I don’t think anyone abides by it, apart from the residents. It worked for maybe the first six weeks.
“I think they need to rethink what they’re doing. It is a big wide road that needs speed humps to stop people.
“It feels like no-one listens until it happens to them.”
Nikki Webber was left in a wheelchair after she was struck by a car as a child in Bawtry.
The 31-year-old, of Bircote, was knocked down 21 years ago, leaving her in a coma for six weeks.
She suffered brain damage and her parents were told she would never walk or talk again. But she began talking again after 18 months and walking after two years.
Now, living independently, Nikki works in the community speaking to school children about road safety.
She said: “It does bother me that the figures are worse than they were four years ago.
“But I heard something I will never, ever forget, in one of my live presentations that I do in schools. One of the little kids said ‘it’s all right, it’s just like a video game, and I will get up and jump back on my bike’. He really believed that. It’s scary if kids think life is like a video game.
“I’m concerned about the way we’re teaching road safety. People need to know it only takes a moment - it only took a moment for a car to almost kill me, and almost ruin my life forever.
“There are no second chances. The moment that car hits you, you could be dead or injured forever.
“There is also responsibility on the motorists. When you’re in a car you have to be responsible.”