In a poll by the IAM, 58% of respondents said that drivers should be held legally responsible for accidents between cars and more vulnerable road users in pedestrian-priority zones.
The most sophisticated pedestrian zones, known as Woonerfs, originate from the Netherlands. The concept is designed without pavements and gives cars, pedestrians and cyclists equal use of the same road space. This was considered a good idea by 48% of the 4,000 respondents; with 27% giving it the thumbs down.
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Our poll reveals a surprisingly positive attitude towards better protection of cyclists and pedestrians, both in road layout and legal responsibility. On the continent, attractive street design is used to make it clear where pedestrians have priority but this approach is in its infancy in the UK.
“The IAM supports any move to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, but research is needed into the best way to inform drivers about changes in legal responsibility, and also on the effect a Woonerf might have on the road sense of children brought up in such a zone, when later exposed to less protected areas.”
For more information contact the IAM Press Office on 020 8996 9777.