The Big Interview: John Siddle, of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership
Speed cameras, road signs, school crossing patrols...ever wondered which local authority is responsible for them? Several are, joining together to form the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP). And in charge of raising the profile of the work it carries out is communications manager John Siddle.
**How did you become involved with the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership and what does your role entail?
I have always had a passion for driving and all things on wheels and when this opportunity came up I felt the diversity of the role was really challenging. I was right! Since I began at the LRSP in 2006, I have brought a lot of the design and film work, that we sourced from outside companies, ‘in house’. We design our own artwork and edit short films at a fraction of the cost we previously paid. Having felt the tragedy, first-hand in 1984, of the loss of a loved one has made me very passionate about the work I do. There is a very dark side to our work here; it is heart-breaking at times, families torn apart by something that is, in the main, avoidable. Watching a grieving mother forgive the person who killed her son will stay with you all your days.
**Who makes up the LRSP?
The main partners are Lincolnshire County Council, Lincs Police, Lincs Fire and Rescue, Highways England and East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
**What major changes have you seen to roads in the county, and around Grantham in particular, during your time with the LRSP?
Significant changes all around the county, sometimes subtle changes to junctions or signs that are hardly noticeable but have a dramatic effect on casualty reduction. The work for the bypass will soon begin and our engineers will be carrying out work to support that. The placement of the average speed cameras on the A52 just outside Grantham have been a massive success.
**Has road safety improved?
Every road-user shares a responsibility to improve road safety in Lincolnshire and I believe the drivers in Lincolnshire are now more aware of road safety than ever before; they take an active role to protect themselves, and others, when out on the road.
**What work does LRSP do with schools in the area?
Most schools have direct contact with our road safety officers (RSOs) – as well as providing road safety education to pupils they are also there for advice. They supervise the school crossing patrol, where schools have them. In the Grantham area, our RSOs have been working with Norbet Dentressangle Logistics, providing pupils with a large vehicle awareness programme focusing on how little the driver can actually see from the driving position. Making them aware so the pupils can minimise the risk to themselves.
**What involvement has the LRSP had with the new Grantham bypass, or will in the future?
Our highways engineers will liaise with the road designers and contractors to put in any safety features, such as crossings, barriers or perhaps drop kerbs, we feel necessary. As the work gets under way, they will carry out safety audits to ensure problems or dangers are not engineered into the road and things like roadside furniture (street lights, signs, etc) are not the cause of future problems. Once the work is completed, another safety audit takes place to ensure the work is to the standard required and safe for road-users.
**What is the key advice you would give motorists?
The key for any motorist anywhere is give yourself time, plan your day even if travelling short distances, don’t believe you can make up time on the road – you can’t. Give plenty of space to the vehicle in front. If someone nips into that space – let them! We often hear from people involved in collisions “I didn’t have time to react” which means to us, you were travelling too close. Try to become a witness, not a victim! Above all, patience and good manners – there’s precious little of either in our modern world, it’s about time we brought those values back to driving.