'Pent up aggression' warning as former MP says risks to pedestrians is rising as lockdown lifts

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The risk of casualties on our roads is going up due to the “pent up aggression” of drivers returning to their cars after the coronavirus lockdown, a former Yorkshire MP has said.

Mary Creagh was Labour MP for Wakefield until the 2019 election but now heads up pedestrian charity Living Streets, and appeared in front of a Commons committee today

Ms Creagh said it was “imperative” that ministers restored the public’s confidence in using public transport as a safe option post-Covid.

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Nicholas Lyes, Head of Roads Policy at the RAC, told MP's there was a demand for people to return to their cars to see friends and family or take staycations and he said: “I think there is a risk that obviously car traffic will increase substantially, at least initially.”

Former Wakefield MP Mary Creagh. Photo: PAFormer Wakefield MP Mary Creagh. Photo: PA
Former Wakefield MP Mary Creagh. Photo: PA

And Ms Creagh referred to pent up aggression" as she warned that “the risk to pedestrians is rising and that we’re seeing that risk of casualty going up as people get back in their cars and feel that they’ve got to make up for the time and the economic activity lost during lockdown.”

It comes as leaders in West Yorkshire vowed to put public transport at the forefront of their coronavirus recovery plan.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee will discuss flexible ticketing at a meeting Friday, which it is hoped will encourage people back to using buses and trains.

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Passenger numbers on the region’s bus services have fallen to around 30 per cent of their usual levels since the latest lockdown began while on rail services the fall is to between five and 15 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

Cllr Kim Groves, chair of the committee, said: “Offering flexibility on tickets to reflect changing travel patterns and ensuring there is confidence that public transport is safe to use will be crucial to getting people back onto trains and buses as the restrictions are eased.

“We need public transport to be at the heart of the recovery to support our town and city centres and connecting people to jobs while keeping congestion down, improving air quality and reducing transport’s impact on the environment.”

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