"Death on the Streets: cars and the mythology of road safety"


This book, one of the main sources of evidence for the road danger reduction approach, is now out of print.  A few copies are available from the author. Here are what reviewers have said:

Another book which is so interesting that it makes my head hurt is by Robert Davis… I’ve been reading it for ages. A couple of pages is enough for me to put it down and reflect. It’s chock full of facts and references, as well as thought-provoking observations about the role of the car in our societies.” Mikael Colville-Andersen, Copenhagenize, 2010

 “This book is a compelling assemblage of the evidence for the danger to civilization posed by the continuing unrestricted use of the private car. Written lucidly ‘from the heart’ the documentation is wide-ranging and meticulous.. A book to be warmly recommended” H.S. Eisner, Safety Science 17 [(1994) 227 – 230]

 “If I had sufficient funds, I would give everyone who reads a copy of Death on the Streets. Please do read it and then take up the cudgels with your MP, your District Councillor and your Chief Constable and do not stop until matters are sufficiently improved to enable us all to share our roads in safety” Peter Cannon, British Horse (British Horse Society), [Autumn 1993]

 “Highly recommend as reading for those associated with roads and road safety”. Karl Briggs, New Civil Engineer[12/19 August 1993]

 “A totally brilliant book, which will go down in history as a classic….fully referenced in one invaluable work…. chockful of useful quotes……The issues it raises should dominate our thoughts”. Don Mathew, London Cyclist [April/May 1993]

“Personally, I shan’t be reading his book.” David Benson, Motoring Editor, Daily Express (6/11/92) Possibly my favourite review, RD.

“Even if you regard yourself as environmentally aware and safety conscious this book will raise your consciousness still farther….the statistical information is presented in a lively, readable way….His arguments, backed by statistics are very convincing….an excellent antidote to most of the rubbish written on road safety..” CILT Journal (Centre for Independent Transport Research in London) [1,1, April 1993]

“This is a radical critique of road safety policy and practice written with a strong vein of polemic and bound to irritate many readers. Yet I feel it should be read, not just to become familiar with a position which is critical of our own, and relate work, but because there are some good arguments which should be listened to.” Inroads (Journal of the Institute of Road Safety Officers)[15,1, July 1993]

“This enlightened and detailed book…spares no-one. This book….should be made compulsory reading before one can join the Institute of Road Safety Officers, the judiciary, become a motoring correspondent or even drive a car. If it fails at all it does so only because it is too comprehensive to be read by sceptical road safety professionals and attitude shapers. Highly recommended.” Colin Graham, Cycletouring and Campaigning, April/May 1993.

“..as powerful as Mick Hamer’s “Wheels Within Wheels”….the way he presents his argumentation and evidence will make many readers change their minds about many things we take for granted. As such, this book should be essential reading for anyone interested or involved in transport safety and environmental issues. Chris Bowers, Going Green (Environmental Transport Association) [Spring 1993]

“…makes sobering reading for those seriously concerned about road safety….A challenging read..” ‘The Hawk’, Commercial Motor  6 – 12 May 1993.

“This is a book which does for road safety what Galileo did for astronomy. For pedestrians concerned about the literally deadly threat they face from motor vehicles, it is no exaggeration to say this is probably the most important book ever published on the subject….a devastating book…. Davis seems to have read every book and paper ever published on transport and road safety.. he writes in a lucid but scholarly manner, with all the facts at his fingertips….Death on the Streets is, quite simply brilliant. it amounts to three-hundred pages of stunning argument and authoritative analysis that takes the road safety industry and our car-dominated transport status quo apart. If readers of WALK only ever buy one book on transport, this should be it. Ronald Binns, WALK (Pedestrians Association), Summer 1993.

“..I would recommend this book to any road safety practitioner, especially to those who believe in engineering as the great cure-all. It is a book which should also be made available to every teacher who covers road safety in his or her classroom.” Richard Doherty,  Care on the Road (RoSPA) August 1993.

“This is an important book…..I remain both scientifically impressed by the sheer weight of evidence and emotionally swayed by the contrast between adjacent photographs showing children playing in the streets 30 years ago and the barricaded truck routes of today.” Richard Mayou,  The Lancet  Vol 342, July 24 1993, p.226.

‘Death on the Streets; Cars and the mythology of road safety’, by Robert Davis, was published by Leading Edge Press. ISBN 0-948135-46-8. (1993) at £11.99. As it is now out of print and there are only a few rare copies left, I am charging £25 (inc. p&p in the UK ) for private copies (signed if wished). If you wish to take up this offer, e-mail me at chairrdrf@aol.com with your contact details.

Otherwise, you can download it here: