The European Parliament is being urged to back a proposal to incorporate the needs of vulnerable road users in EU road safety infrastructure rules.
The rules, which were last updated in 2008, require authorities to carry out regular safety audits and inspections – and treat high risk sites.
However, the rules only cover the major European motorways and other roads that form the Trans-European Road Network. The rules also fail to include the safety of vulnerable road users.
A coalition of road safety groups, traffic police, cyclists and transport workers – including the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) – is calling on the European Parliament to extend the scope of the rules to cover all primary roads in Europe, and to incorporate the needs of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.
The coalition argues that the rules currently have ‘limited benefit’ because just 8% of road deaths occur on motorways, with 37% in urban areas and 55% on rural non-motorway roads.
The coalition also calls on European Parliament to ‘adapt the current procedures so they also apply to the needs of all vulnerable road users, keeping in mind that each of the groups (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists) has its own specific requirements’.
The European Commission proposed to update the existing road infrastructure safety rules in May 2018 – but the proposals must be approved or possibly amended by both the European Parliament and Member States.
According to Commission estimates, extending the coverage of the safety rules to primary roads could prevent 3,200 deaths and 20,700 serious injuries between 2020 and 2030.
The European Parliament’s Transport committee is expected to vote on the new rules in early December.