Next Sunday is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, an initiative established in 1995 and since adopted by the UN to remember the millions of people who are killed and injured on the roads and to acknowledge the work of the emergency services. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on how we use the roads at CERN. We all use CERN’s transport arteries in one way or another: on foot, on two wheels or on four or more, and we all have the right to be safe and to be treated with courtesy by other road users when we do so.
Thousands of us use the roads at CERN every day and the overwhelming majority of us do so politely and without incident. That’s something in which we can all take pride, but there’s always room for improvement. Since 2013, the number of vehicle accidents on the CERN sites has varied between 13 and 29 per year. Discourteous behaviour ranges from two reported cases in 2015 to 36 in 2017. One thing that has been steadily rising over the period is the number of near misses, which has climbed from 54 cases reported in 2013 to over 100 so far this year. Is that a sign that we’re becoming more impatient and aggressive? Would it be good, perhaps, to slow down a little? Whatever the reason, it’s a trend that we should actively try to reverse.
As I’ve discussed in this column before, CERN’s Mobility Working Group recommends measures to improve all aspects of mobility at CERN, including safety. Many of you have shared your thoughts through the mobility questionnaire and many initiatives to improve mobility are currently under way. These range from measures to improve traffic flow to the development of cycle paths and footpaths. All are designed to make our movements around the CERN sites smoother and more pleasant for all, and as a consequence I hope to see our good track record get even better.
One more thing to remember: when you’re outside CERN, particularly with CD or green plates, you are an ambassador for the Laboratory. Your behaviour reflects on the Organization. So, wherever you are, on site or off, be safe, be courteous, and let’s try to get those accidents and instances of discourteous behaviour, which are still too numerous, down to zero!