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Road wars: Contesting paradigms of road safety, public space and well-being

Kimberlee, Richard



David Griffiths


In the UK pedestrian killed and seriously injured rates have steadily declined since the introduction of local road safety departments four decades ago. The road safety paradigm based on local scientific analysis of risk reduction, engineering and the separation of people from public space and traffic appears to have enhanced people’s safety. In recent times the limitations of this approach has become increasingly challenged from: community responses to traffic encroachment; innovative and alternative designs to public space usage; social movement reaction and the problems posed by environmental degradation. These innovative approaches have highlighted the limits of the road safety paradigm for promoting well-being. This article suggests that rather than facing a:War on the Motorist increasingly different voices are contesting the spaces we use for traversing our cities. It suggests that the challenge to understanding and promoting well-being in public space may require road safety advocates to embrace these challenging resistancies and alternative insights in how to use road space.


Kimberlee, R. (2014). Road wars: Contesting paradigms of road safety, public space and well-being. In S. Maile, & D. Griffiths (Eds.), Public Engagement and Social Science (113-126). Bristol: Policy Press

Acceptance Date May 4, 2014
Publication Date May 21, 2014
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 113-126
Series Title Public Engagement and Social Science
Book Title Public Engagement and Social Science
ISBN 9781447306863
Keywords shared space, road safety, cycling, critical mass, well-being, wellbeing, KSI, killed or seriously injured, NRSI
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