An alliance of walking and cycling organisations indicated its support today for proposed amendments to the Highway Code, but said it was ‘disappointed’ that the DfT’s plan to improve the safety of vulnerable road users did not place more emphasis on speed reduction.
This is an initial reaction to Government plans for safety improvements for people walking and cycling.
The proposals were made as part of 50 recommendations published by the DfT in response to the Cycling and Walking Safety Review conducted in March.
Made up of Cycling UK, The Ramblers, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans, the organisations welcomed the suggestions which will look into providing priority for cyclists and walkers at junctions, clearer guidance on vehicles overtaking cyclists and also guidance on the ‘Dutch reach’.
There was ‘disappointment’ among the group however that there was not more emphasis on speed reduction.
Cycling UK CEO Paul Tuohy said: “Lowering vehicle speeds around people walking, cycling and horse riding doesn’t just reduce the danger to them, but also their perception of the danger.
“While the DfT’s proposals for amendments to the Highway Code will help save lives, ignoring the threat and dangers of speeding is disappointing.”
The alliance believes increasing road safety and reducing the perception of danger are ‘crucial’ parts in the promotion of active travel, and said these need support across Government beyond the DfT.
Tuohy added: “If we want more people cycling and walking in England, and enjoy the consequential health, environmental and economic benefits, it’s clear the DfT needs support from across Whitehall.
“Other departments – health, justice, local communities and Government all need to start mucking in and working with the DfT.
“Every department will share in the benefits of more people cycling and walking, so it’s only right that they should actively support the DfT, financially and administratively, to help to make this happen.”
Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “Too often people walking pay the ultimate price on our roads.
“This is unacceptable and we need opportunities like this to make our roads safer.
“Looking to improve the Highway Code for walking and cycling, and appointing a cycling and walking champion can help make our streets safer for everyone.
“Lower speed limits in urban areas, more time to cross at light-controlled crossings, better street maintenance and constraints on pavement parking can all help encourage people to choose these cleaner and healthier ways to travel.”