Michael Loveday

Mike Loveday (Photo: Charlotte Gilhooly)

Mike Loveday, chair of Living Streets – putting Living Streets 80th year in context

Mike gave a history of the organisation, highlighting decade by decade advances. In 1928, when the Pedestrians Association was formed, there was no Highway Code, no driving test (a driving license could be purchased for 5 shillings), and no speed limits. There were around 100,000 vehicles on the road and 6,127 road deaths were recorded during the year. By 2008 the number of vehicles has risen to 21 million while the number of deaths had fallen to 2,947.

The Pedestrians Association had been instrumental in getting the Highway Code adopted in 1931 and a compulsory driving test in 1935. Safety continued to predominate through the 40s and 50s, with the first green shoots of what became the walkability type of scheme developing in the 60s. In the 1970s Leicester became the first traffic-free town centre, with the road safety agenda and the EEC being important in the 80s. The walking challenge developed in 1990s, and in 2001 the Pedestrians Association was renamed Living Streets. Mike summed up by saying that although the agenda had widened over the last 80 years, the core ideas have remained the same.