the victims of accidents|
Every year over 3,400 people are
killed on our roads.
The latest figures show that 185 people were killed
on the roads in the North East and Cumbria in just one year.
the relatives and friends of the victims are creating roadside shrines in memory
of their loved ones.
Bouquets of flowers, messages and soft toys are left
at the scene - sometimes for months, even years afterwards.
So are these
shrines a timely reminder to us all to slow down - or yet one more distraction
on the roads?
Remembering the victims
David Cameron from
Newcastle was killed by a speeding driver who was weaving in and out of the traffic
at high speed.
Shortly after the accident people started leaving flowers
- a shrine to David was created, and nearly two years on, it's still there.
of a car crash - David Cameron from Newcastle|
His mother Debbie
now visits the shrine about three times a year, on David's birthday, at Christmas
and on the anniversary of his death.
David's shrine is one of a growing
number of shrines appearing on our roads.
Debbie has found the shrine comforting:
was nice to know that people were thinking of us. It was nice to know that he
was a popular little boy.
"It was nice that people were remembering
him this way - and that other drivers know an accident's happened.
people took notice of the speed and the way they were driving, they'd be no need
need for these shrines."
But do the
shrines make drivers think about their driving?
One person who witnessed
David's accident told me it makes her slow down every time she passes the shrine,
but others are not convinced.
Some transport groups believe that shrines
should be used to highlight road safety problems.
Roadpeace, a charity for
victims, has called for shrines to play a more important role in raising awareness
of danger on the road.
"A road death is a very sudden and
violent death and the place where somebody dies is very special - and that's why
people want to be able to go the the last place where their relative was alive.
from Roadpeace's point of view we think the value is in reminding drivers how
dangerous the roads are... and we all might be doing more to prevent it."
Zoe Stow, Roadpeace.
Thomas also knows the pain of losing a loved one on the roads.
are a frequent sight on roadsides|
His son Charlie was killed
on a motorbike, but he's not in favour of shrines by the road:
got out of hand. I think a lot of people have seen what's happening in Europe
and they've followed on from that."
No research has been done to see
if flowers on the verge help or hinder road safety, so we did our own.
the BBC's local Where I Live websites, we asked you if you found flowers by the
Of those who took part, more than half said 'yes'.
Do you slow down when you see bunches of flowers or other tributes by the side
of the road?
111 said Yes
2. Do you find flowers placed by the
203 said Yes
3. Is laying flowers by the side
of the road a suitable way to remember someone when they have died?
A total of 364 people replied to the survey.
In other countries many people think there is a point to marking
In France they've found a unique way of honouring the victims
of road deaths using silhouettes.
Jean-Pierre Giraud, an artist, designed
some roadside silhouettes after his son was killed on the road.
blackspot - silhouette signs for safety|
Each silhouette represents
a tragedy of a broken family, and when people are driving along it makes them
realise it's a dangerous route.
The silhouettes are put up for a month
where people have been killed - campaigners say they're making the roads safer.
local highways department erect the silhouettes, and it doesn't ask for permission
from the families, as Philippe Lermine from the French Department of Transport
"At first we thought families would object, but the opposite
is true, I've had people ring me up to say, 'you have forgotten my son who was
"Other areas have taken up the idea, and other countries too.
The silhouettes have become a symbol for road safety."
of road deaths has been brought down, and some attribute this fall to the signs.
have brought down the number of road deaths from 8 to 5,000 and I am certain that
the silhouettes are part of that success."
over 3,400 people are killed on our roads. In 2003 - 171 children were killed
on Britain's roads.
We all have a one in 200 chance of dying on the road.
Statistically we are more likely to be killed while crossing a road than
in a plane crash.
Half the people who die on the road are in cars.
most at risk of dying on the roads are 'vulnerable road users' - pedestrians,
cyclists, motorbike, and moped riders (this group accounts for 45% of all deaths).
are three times more likely to be killed on the roads as women.
is the biggest killer of young people aged 15-19. Children under 16 accounted
for more than one third of all pedestrian casualties in 2003.
With no conclusive research on whether they're
good or bad for road safety, roadside shrines are proving to be a headache for
Inside Out contacted councils in our area and found there
is no clear policy.
Some remove flowers after a few weeks, while others
decide what to do with each individual shrine.
One northern council told
us that it's considering allowing permanent memorials.
But not everybody
agrees, even the families of the victims.
As a committed Anglican Richard
Thomas believes the graveyard is the place to remember.
has another solution to those who say that they roadside shrines look untidy when
the flowers decay.
They've come up with a standardised sign with the words
'Remember Me' on it.
Half of the people in our survey said that they thought
flowers were an appreciate way of remembering someone.
It seems that the
debate on roadside shrines will continue to divide opinion.
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