ROAD safety concerns - brought to the police’s attention by multiple Barnsley campaign groups - will become a ‘prioritised issue’ for officers across the borough, force bosses have revealed.
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings - following discussions with the South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership (SYSRP).
Dr Billings held a roundtable event in a bid to hear concerns around road safety in the borough, which will shape his new police and crime plan, due for publication next month.
He heard from members of the SYSRP about issues which have been raised by community groups in Barnsley, including those in Ardsley, Penistone and Staincross.
A public survey undertaken in June and July found residents rated speeding as their biggest road safety concern.
Other common issues included high demand from parish councils for traffic calming measures.
Dr Billings said: “Issues around road safety and speeding have began to dominate many conversations at town and parish council meetings.
“I will give support to the SYSRP’s work in seeking to improve safety in villages and will convene a meeting with partners with the aim of sharing information and understanding the work being undertaken in this area.
“I will be supporting the SYSRP by ensuring that road safety issues are highlighted with the aim of continuing to reduce serious and fatal road traffic accidents.”
Road traffic collisions caused more than 400 injuries - including nine fatalities - on Barnsley’s roads last year, Department for Transport (DfT) figures revealed.
The majority of the 444 casualties - 329, or 74.3 per cent - were deemed as causing ‘slight’ injuries, a 17.7 per cent drop since the previous year and more than 50 per cent down on the yearly average from 2010 to 2014.
However, fatal injuries on Barnsley’s road network account for almost a third of all South Yorkshire’s 30 deaths over a 12-month period.
These figures - including ongoing concerns at several locations across the town - led to the formation of community speed watch groups who volunteered to monitor the speed of traffic at hotspot areas.
A report, issued following Dr Billings’ meeting with the SYSRP, added: “The main concern seems to be the speed at which vehicles travel, and this is especially concerning for residents in the more rural and quieter villages.
“During the periods of lockdown the number of concerns increased rapidly, particularly from within rural communities.
“Concerns have been raised by residents from across the town and are not confined to a particular area.
“Our assessment of the reason for the increase in issues being raised is that it is most likely due to people having been at home and taking more regular walks and exercise during the pandemic, particularly during the day, and therefore people taking more notice of the traffic.”