The financial cost to society of each accidental road death is more than £1.9million #.
For the families involved the loss is immeasurable. 

SafeWise, the award winning interactive safety education charity which runs LV=Streetwise in Bournemouth and the Weymouth Community Safety Centre, is breaking new ground as construction commences at the rear of the Weymouth centre on RoadWise – the UK’s first life-sized outdoor road safety village. RoadWise will provide a memorable safe, controlled opportunity for pedestrians, cyclists, new motorcyclists, younger and older drivers to practice skills for life – walking, riding and driving in a ‘real life’ environment. As a training environment it will help to drive down casualties on our roads, helping to deliver the sustainable changes in behaviour needed to make our roads safer.

Artist’s impression of RoadWise below – see the latest construction photos here.

Dorset Fire & Rescue Service has been a co-founder of both safety centres and now, Dorset Fire Authority and the Office of the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner have laid down some funds to kick start the building, with the support of Dorset County Council. RoadWise is being built by main contractors and long term SafeWise charity supporters Morgan Sindall and charity founder supporters Siemens, SSE and Network Rail.

Darran Gunter, Dorset Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer and SafeWise trustee said, “Dorset Fire and Rescue Service is a key supporter of SafeWise and of course the continued development of our fantastic community and education facilities in Weymouth. The new RoadWise facility will fully complement our existing learning experiences and will provide a key part of a multi-agency road safety education strategy. We are committed to reducing the number of accidents on our roads and believe this innovative centre will be another key solution in our bid to change and save lives.”

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and SafeWise trustee said “The Chief Constable and I were really keen to get involved in this multi-agency approach. The outdoor road safety centre is a fantastic way to educate people about safety on the roads; RoadWise will help to tackle behaviour that increases the risk of accidents on our roads. It’s exciting, innovative and unique and I am really proud to be part of it.”

First spade in the ground! 3rd June 2015

Back row: L to R:
Gary Winstanley, Operations Director, Siemens; Darran Gunter, Chief Fire Officer, Dorset Fire & Rescue Service; Neil Fitzwalter, Director, Custom Security Services and SafeWise Trustee; Cllr Mike Byatt, Dorset Fire Authority; Debbie Simpson, Chief Constable, Dorset Police; Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and SafeWise trustee; Cllr Christine James, Mayor of Weymouth & Portland; Jennie Stone, Team manager, SSE Contracting

Middle row: L to R:
Jayne Smart, Office Manager, Morgan Sindall; HM Lord-Lieutenant Angus Campbell and SafeWise Patron; Alison Shelton, Chief Executive, SafeWise; Jennifer Coombs, High Sheriff of Dorset 2015/16 and SafeWise Patron

Front:  John Warman, Site Manager, Morgan Sindall.
With Phase One producing the orginal plans in 2011, through the summer of 2015 Phase Two construction providing the road layout with everyday hazards such as a pedestrian crossing, zebra crossing, mini roundabout, bus stop, a one-way street and rural lane with a T-junction and parking practice opportunities. It includes a blue light training area to enhance learning points on behalf of emergency service partners – fire crews, paramedics and police with fire engines and cutting equipment rescuing people from cars, rescues from underground chambers. In Phase Three, subject to planning pernmission, a railway line with a mock platform and a level crossing will enhance and complement the learning opportunities.

In order to stretch the funds as far as possible for the charity to build on going forward, a number of businesses including Siemens, SSE Contracting, Network Rail and Bournemouth White Lining, have generously offered goods and services at no cost – inspired to offer in kind support to be part of something truly amazing which has the potential to save lives for generations to come.

RoadWise from above – pre build – photo credit Dorset Echo
The new pedestrian controller and crossing system is being funded and installed by Siemens for SafeWise. It includes the latest push buttons incorporating audible and tactile indicators, a key benefit for interactive safety training for a wide range of people including children, the elderly, families and home owners. On behalf of Siemens, Gary Winstanley, Operations Director, said: ‘Raising awareness of everyday safety and good citizenship is high on the company’s agenda and through our long standing association with SafeWise we can help more local people benefit from the latest technology to be found in many towns and cities across the country. With the help of a modern pedestrian crossing system, the training experience at both centres can accurately reflect ‘real-life’ and help increase the level of road safety awareness for visitors of every age’.

The charity is looking for additional funds and support to bring RoadWise to life – support to build and sponsor the ‘streetscapes’ (images of buildings on vertical wooden walls) to spring up around the road layout. A range of items from the real world are being sought – from plants and soft landscaping to street furniture, shops and even billboards for sponsors to advertise on.

Mayor of Weymouth & Portland, Cllr Christine James said, “Exciting times are ahead as at last road safety is driven into the 21st century. As a driving instructor and the Mayor I’m very excited about the prospect of the centre as well as keen to make sure that road safety becomes part of the everyday learning of our children.”

For SafeWise, Chief Executive Alison Shelton commented: ‘Our safety centres’ unique life-sized environments help people to spot the potential for danger, learn about risk and consequence and how to take responsibility for their actions – all in an interactive yet safe and controlled environment. We are delighted to be embarking on this exciting new project that will help to save lives and prevent needless tragedies on our roads.”

For more information about SafeWise and RoadWise contact SafeWise Chief Executive Alison Shelton on 01202 591330, 07801 970883 or alison@streetwise.org.uk