The DfT recently announced a range of proposed measures to encourage greater levels of mutual respect between road users and protect the most vulnerable.
The consultation resulted in 14,000 responses, with the shared vision of improving road safety – and the ‘perceptions of safety’ – which have been shown as barriers to active travel.
As part of the drive to encourage cycling and walking for shorter journeys by 2040, councils are being encouraged to increase spend to 15% of their transport infrastructure budget on walking and cycling.
Jesse Norman, MP, said: “Greater road safety— and especially the protection of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – is essential. We want to improve air quality, encourage healthy exercise, reduce obesity and boost our high streets and economic productivity.”
Following on from a north Wales pilot scheme, £100k of funding will support police enforcement via a national office unit dedicated to the analysis of dash cam video evidence submitted by the public.
Alongside a review of the Highway Code in relation to road users’ behaviour towards cyclists and pedestrians, the DfT will also work closely with courier companies to explore incentives for drivers to undergo training in driving safely alongside cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders.
Cycling bodies have responded to the initiative with further calls for consideration of other road users.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK said: “Close overtakes and people opening car doors in front of cyclists are not only dangerous, they also put people off riding a bike. That’s why Cycling UK has been campaigning for changes to the Highway Code rules for many years, to make the requirements to give enough space when overtaking a cyclist, wait if you can’t, and look before you open your car door crystal clear.”
Sustrans, along with other walking and cycling bodies, are calling for 5 changes to increase road safety for pedestrians and cyclists:
- Safety: revise the Highway Code to improve safety for people walking and cycling, particularly at junctions.
- Speed: reduce default speed limits to 20 mph for most roads in built-up areas and 40 mph for most minor rural roads.
- Space: adopt and ensure consistent application of existing ‘best-in-class’ infrastructure design standards.
- Priority: prohibit pavement parking to create safer and more accessible streets.
- Culture: provide cycle training for all primary and secondary school children, and embed a culture of walking and cycling throughout the school curriculum.