The TT 2009 road safety campaign, a joint initiative between the Department of Transport and Isle of Man Constabulary, was launched yesterday (Monday 18th May).
The 'Stay Alive, Stay Alert' campaign features a series of hard-hitting images of real crash scenes from Police archives and is intended to have lasting impact on both residents and visitors.
The launch, which took place at the House of Manannan in Peel, was attended by Minister for Transport David Anderson MHK, Tim Crookall MHK and Chief Constable Mike Langdon, who spoke in turn about the rationale behind the campaign.
The imagery used in the campaign illustrates the consequences and the aftermath of a serious road accident. All but one of the images used are genuine accident scenes from previous TT festivals; the poster featuring a deceased rider with a yellow motorbike was staged with actors, but based on Police photographic records and featuring a real crash bike.
Mr Anderson spoke of the 'sheer devastation' caused by road accidents and said that the intention of the campaign was to make road users think about the consquences of their actions ‘This year, we want to emphasise the catastrophic impact an accident can have on the rider or driver involved.
'Although some of the images may be difficult to look at, we feel that it is important for people to see real accidents scenes and how a split second can affect lives so dramatically.
‘The images used show the sheer devastation which follows a road traffic accident. Whilst it is very saddening to note that some lives were lost as a result of these accidents, we hope that these hard-hitting images will make people stop and think about how they ride or drive.
'The key aim of this campaign is to discourage reckless riding and driving by changing public attitude towards road safety. Ultimately, we want to prevent accidents like these happening again.’
Calling last year's TT accident statistics - 4 fatalities and 38 injured - 'completely unacceptable', Chief Constable Langdon said he made 'no apologies for the campaign's hard-hitting theme': 'The emotive style of this year’s road safety campaign is necessary if the message about road safety is to get through to the hardcore of visiting motorcyclists who seem oblivious to the dangers that their style of riding brings.
A successful TT is not just about the quality and skill of the competitors, it is also about keeping everyone who uses the roads safe. This campaign, and the efforts of my officers and their colleagues from the Department of Transport, will help achieve that'.
Chief Constable Langdon added that there would be a 'rigorous focus' on recognising potential offenders ie. people riding beyond their capability', while ensuring that more vulnerable road users were aware of increased risk levels during TT fortnight. He then concluded
‘We are indebted to the surviving accident victims and indeed the families of those who have died as a result of the accidents featured in the campaign. Their support has allowed us to produce a visually shocking TT road safety campaign that should help reduce the risk of similar accidents during this year’s TT festival'.
One-way System to be Retained for Mountain Road
As part of the TT road safety campaign, the one-way system on the Mountain Road is being re-introduced for the duration of the 2009 TT festival. A leaflet explaining the one-way system will soon be available from the Sea Terminal and other outlets. The road safety message will be reinforced by billboards on the TT course, radio advertisements and general information leaflets.
Mr Anderson commented ‘In addition to the one-way system over the Mountain Road, there have been a number of modifications to the roads forming the TT course over the past two years which we want to emphasise to our visitors, including significant changes to Braddan Bridge, Governor’s Bridge and Parliament Square.
‘All these details have been compiled in the general TT 2009 Road Safety information leaflet, which will be given out to visitors at every opportunity. We have also produced leaflets aimed at children and young people which will be distributed to all schoolchildren before the TT gets underway.
'These leaflets are produced to help make children aware of the additional dangers they face when out and about during TT fortnight.’
The TT Road Safety Campaign will be broadcast on all local radio stations and will cover all aspects of road safety. As well as the all-important anti-drink driving message, they will remind residents to keep animals and domestic pets away from potentially dangerous situations on the roads, urge bikers to avoid stopping on bends, and advise all road users to look out for temporary speed limits in place for the duration of the TT.
This year, the Road Safety Unit has also produced information postcards in the five most spoken languages by visitors to the Island to help the road safety message cross the language barrier.