Ministers are seeking to boost cycling and walking “as part of a push for the UK to leave cars for shorter journeys”, through a review of cycle saftey measures announced today (9 March).
The Department for Transport has launched a call for evidence on investment in measures to improve safety of cyclists and pedestrians – seeking views on successful schemes that could be rolled out more widely across the country.
According to DfT, the consultation will support an ‘open and comprehensive’ review of how to address the issues that cyclists and pedestrians face, or perceive, when using road infrastructure, to support the aim of increasing cycling and walking.
Cycling Minister Jesse Norman said: “We need to become a nation of cyclists, and this government wants to make cycling the natural choice of transport for people of all ages and backgrounds.
“The call for evidence published today will support an open, comprehensive and thorough review across government to encourage active travel and improve safety for all road users, and I hope that as many people as possible take the time to read and respond to it.”
Issues addressed in the consultation include whether road safety laws are appropriate to protect cyclists and pedestrians, whether training for road users could be improved to benefit safety, and safety equipment that could be used to promote cycle and pedestrian safety.
In April last year, the government published the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, setting out its vision to remove barriers and double the number of cyclists by 2025.
Xavier Brice, CEO of walking and cycling charity Sustrans said: “We welcome the government’s ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy safety review’ and especially the inclusion of pedestrians in the review. This is something we advocated. Safety concerns are some of the greatest barriers to more people choosing to walk and cycle and we are pleased that the review is seeking to make it easier for everyone to travel on foot or by bike, and recognises the wide benefits that active travel brings to individuals and societies.
“Road safety applies to everyone, regardless of travel mode and we broadly support the case for a new offence to tackle dangerous cycling. However, it must remain proportional as people on bikes rarely cause harm to others through their own actions but, like pedestrians, are particularly vulnerable to motor vehicles which are by far the largest cause of death and serious injury on our roads. It is therefore good to see this as only one part of a much wider safety review to enable more people to walk and cycle every day.”
Mr Norman has also announced £100,000 in funding for three pilot projects – Central Bedfordshire council, Airhead, and Alp Technologies – all of which are aimed at using technology to improve cycle safety.
Central Beds’ project involves improving safety of cyclists on rural roads by using a combination of technologies to influence driver behaviour and dynamically alert vehicles to their presence.
Alp Technologies is aiming to expand the use of electric bicycles through reducing their cost, whilst airhead is designing a more portable cycle helmet.