The RAC, RoSPA and Brake have all welcomed last week’s news that the Government is to conduct a review into how to make walking and cycling safer.
The review forms part of the Government’s drive to encourage more people of all ages to take up cycling as part of a ‘green revolution in transport’.
The RAC says the Government’s call for evidence is ‘a welcome move’, and cited segregation as the ‘best option’ for cyclists and motorists.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “There is a role for drivers to better understand the sorts of dangers that cyclists face on our roads.
“We would encourage reforms to the theory test to place greater emphasis on how much space drivers should give cyclists and also the dangers at junctions.
“We also believe that promoting the ‘Dutch reach’ can raise awareness among drivers and passengers of cyclists when opening their car doors.
“We still feel segregation is the best option for the safety of both cyclists and motorists. However, drivers complain that in some cases, cycle superhighways and segregated cycle lanes are not used widely outside of peak hours.
“This raises questions about how best we can make best use of our road space throughout the day. The risk is that reducing road space can actually exacerbate congestion.”
RoSPA is ‘very pleased’ that the consultation covers both pedestrians and cyclists because, together, they accounted for 550 road deaths in Great Britain in 2016 – 31% of the overall total.
The Society advocates a ‘safe systems approach’ to create a safe on and off-road environment, improve road user attitudes and behaviour, and produce safer vehicles that reduce the risk to the most vulnerable.
Nick Lloyd, road safety manager at RoSPA, said: “We are really pleased that the call for evidence recognises the importance of a ‘safe systems approach’ as a way of protecting vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
“It is an unfortunate reality that humans do make mistakes and when this happens it should not result in death or life-changing injury.”
In a report published last week to coincide with the announcement of the Government’s review, the road safety charity Brake called for more investment in segregated cycle lanes.
The Brake report suggests that drivers are deterred from cycling by the current road environment, with the 60mph speed limit on single-carriageway A roads described as ‘too fast to assure the safety of cyclists’.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said: “Brake welcomes this opportunity to improve the road environment for cyclists and pedestrians and urges the Government to not shy away from the big decisions, such as implementing and enforcing safer speed limits.”