Police chief call for safer roads

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The chief constable of Sussex is urging motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to think about safety whenever they use the county’s roads.

Giles York is calling on residents and visitors to the county to take care on the roads and to think about how the way they drive, cycle and walk could put them or other people in danger.

Over the last six years the number of people killed on Sussex roads has more than halved, from 69 in the first 11 months of 2008 to 33 in the first 11 months of this year.

However this year has seen a dramatic rise in the total number of people being killed or seriously injured in the county. A total of 927 people died or were seriously injured between January and November - more than in any of the previous six years. This has been followed by seven fatalities on the roads this month. Officers are concerned that while the bad weather has been a contributory factor in some of those crashes, driver, cyclist or pedestrian behaviour has been more to blame. Mr York witnessed first hand the bad behaviour of motorists while attending a drink-drive checkpoint with roads policing unit officers in Storrington on Sunday.

A number of people were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drink or drugs during the operation while officers dealing with that operation and a number of other serious collisions saw motorists putting other people in danger.

Mr York said: “Some of the drivers’ behaviour that I have witnessed in recent weeks has been awful. On three different occasions I have seen cars overtaking on blind bends on country lanes that was so dangerous it was frightening.

“I’ve just about seen cyclists wearing dark clothing on their bikes with no lights in dark lanes. I’m not sure they know just how invisible they are. They need to do more for themselves to be seen. As drivers, cyclists and pedestrians we all have to take responsibility for making the roads safer. To report a vehicle being driven antisocially text 65999 or report it at www.operationcrackdown.co.uk.