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Giant sand art highlights tragic deaths

Giant sand art highlights tragic deaths

An innovative road safety partnership has created a giant piece of sand art on a beach near the G7 Summit to urge world leaders to adopt a Vision Zero approach to death and serious injuries on their roads.

The 800sqm work of art was created at Gwithian beach, just across the water from Carbis Bay where world leaders are meeting this weekend.

It depicts the figures of 55 people – 44 men, nine women and two children – which represents the number of people who died on Devon and Cornwall’s roads in 2020*.  A further 625 people suffered serious injuries in crashes in 2020. 

The figures are particularly alarming given that much of the year was spent in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, with far fewer car journeys being made.

The Vision Zero South West sand art project was created by Cornish sand artist Chris Howarth.

Vision Zero South West has set itself the ambitious target of halving the number of fatal and serious collisions in Devon and Cornwall by 2030 – and ultimately eradicating all serious crashes on our roads.

The video shows snippets of the sand art’s creation before the incoming tide washes the figures away – poignantly symbolising our vision to cut road deaths to zero.

The depiction, which took measures 20m x 40m and took more than five hours to create, is the handy work of renowned beach artist Chris Howarth, who goes by the name of One Man and His Rake.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is chairman of the Vision Zero South West partnership and also the APCC national lead for road safety.

Commissioner Hernandez said: “We wanted take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the G7 leaders how seriously we’re taking road safety in Devon and Cornwall.

“Devon and Cornwall Police has the largest road network of any police force in England and Wales, and there are far too many people being killed and seriously injured on our roads.

“We believe that any death or serious injury caused by a road traffic collision is not only tragic and devastating for those involved, but it’s also avoidable.

“We’ve specifically chosen the weekend of the G7 Summit to highlight the ambitions of Vision Zero with this sustainable and thought-provoking piece of sand art.  We want world leaders visiting

Cornwall to commit to the Vision Zero ethos and doing more to combat road deaths and serious injuries.”


* Figures from Devon & Cornwall Police’s Serious Collisions Investigation Team.  These figures are not verified Department for Transport figures, which are set to be released later this year.

What is Vision Zero South West?

Vision Zero is a shared commitment between a number of organisations across Devon and Cornwall.  The one thing they all share is a commitment to cut the number of deaths and serious injuries in the region to zero.

Vision Zero is led by a partnership board which includes a wide range of experts from all around the South West including senior police and fire officers, leading clinicians, councillors and the police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Vision Zero’s partners include:

  • Cornwall County Council
  • Devon County Council
  • Plymouth City Council
  • Torbay Council
  • Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
  • Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
  • Devon and Cornwall Police
  • Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
  • Highways England
  • NHS University Hospitals Plymouth Trust
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
  • Cornwall Air Ambulance
  • Devon Air Ambulance
  • Driving for Better Business
  • Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS)

For more information visit  You can also follow Vision Zero on Facebook at or on Twitter at

For more information about this press release, or about Vision Zero South West, please contact Joel Cooper on