RoadWise brings road safety to life at SafeWise

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 brings road safety to life at SafeWise

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.                              

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 will be 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.”

Through the summer of 2015 Phase One construction will provide 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. Later, Phase Two will provide 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 and from heights. In Phase Three, 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.

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’. 

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  

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