Letter: Safer streets, please

Sir: Any reduction in premature deaths is surely to be welcomed, but last year's reduction in road casualties ("Road deaths are lowest recorded", 10 September) should be seen in the context of the decline in walking, cycling and playing on our streets.

Many dangerous streets have a virtually non-existent casualty rate for the simple reason that parents are too frightened of traffic to let their children walk, cycle or play in them. The real test of road safety policy is whether road casualties can be reduced while increasing the number of people who feel it is safe enough to walk and cycle.

The huge decline in children's independent mobility and fitness must not be the price we have to pay for a lower road casualty rate. The review of speed limits due out soon must treat our vulnerable road-users as a priority. Children should once again be allowed to use our streets in relative safety and the road casualty rate must come down even further.