Response to Government’s Cycle Safety Review

In the spring of 2018 the Department for Transport (DfT) ran a consultation on ways to make cycling and walking safer while supporting the government’s ambition to increase cycling and walking. There are six topics in this review in relation to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians. These topics concern the impact of road signs and infrastructure, laws and rules relating to road safety and their enforcement, training and educating road users, government policy on vehicles and equipment, and understanding and awareness of different types of road users in relation to cycle use. The TACC has responded comprehensively to this call. 

 

Consultation question 1: Do you have any suggestions on the way in which the current approach to development and maintenance of road signs and infrastructure impacts the safety of cyclists and other vulnerable road users? How could it be improved?

  1. Design Manual for Roads and Bridges is often used as the default guidance for road schemes without IAN195. This often leads to the design of shared use footways leading to unprotected crossings at side roads and large roundabouts. This in turn undermines the effectiveness of cycling infrastructure. We have produced a critique of this in the context of the Taunton area, which we will send by email. We suggest the following things.
  2. New cycle infra design guidance must give stronger lead in protecting and giving priority to walking/cycling at side roads and roundabouts, drawing on Dutch/Danish design practice. We recently had a design work shop with Somerset County Council Highways officers where we highlighted the design issues. It was clear that ‘capacity’ nearly always trumps good design for walking and cycling. Although there was some recognition that some design guidance needs to be updated, there isn’t staff time to do this. Some ‘template’ design guidance would be helpful so that each Highways Agency (HA) doesn’t have to go through the updating process individually.
  3. Coupled with this, the highway code advice for side road movements should be made mandatory. This was a strong point which emerged from the Bristol regional event.
  4. Local Authorities (LAs) should be strongly encouraged to use Manual for Streets 1 and 2 in built up areas (rather than DMRB).
  5. Webtag and DMRB encourages HAs to design for future predicted car demand with cycling/walking as inadequate ‘add-ons’. A much more integrated approach should be used based on the road user hierarchy.
  6. Signing should be simplified. There are too many examples of ‘forests’ of signs being installed. The ‘cyclists dismount’ sign should be removed from the signing regulations and manuals. Too often this is used as a substitute for good design.
  7. HAs should be strongly discouraged from using guard rail and sheep pens.
  8. HE should be required to provide cycletracks/paths in conjunction with new roads/expressways. For example, on the A358 proposal there is a real opportunity to provide a Taunton-Ilminster cycle link but we are having to campaign for this, as it hasn’t been included in the scheme options.

A separate issue: can temporary rural road closure signs be used to tell cyclists/people on foot, whether it is possible to get through? Sometimes utilities go to some trouble to enable access but don’t actually tell people at the closure point. This can give rise to people having to use heavily trafficked/fast alternatives. Disrupts signposted for long-distance routes are often unnecessarily.

 

Consultation question 2: Please set out any areas where you consider the laws or rules relating to road safety and their enforcement, with particular reference to cyclists and pedestrians, could be used to support the Government’s aim of improving cycling and walking safety whilst promoting more active travel.

We would like to see presumed liability being introduced. More use of fixed penalties for careless/dangerous driving/cycling rather than using the court system.

Speed is a key issue. There is growing evidence of the benefits of areawide 20 mph areas.

Some of our own members are trying to promote road safety by co-ordinating and assisting with Speedwatch. However, the process for setting up Speedwatch is slow (stretched Police resources). More should be done to enable and support local communities who want to help with this.

 

Consultation question 3: Do you have any suggestions for improving the way road users are trained, with specific consideration to protecting cyclists and pedestrians?

Strengthen driver training and driving test in relation to these. Promote advanced driver training skills.

It can be a problem bringing Bikeability into some schools and less advantaged can miss out. Can DfT look at how a more equitable roll out can be implemented. There is also concern that in some areas there is a charge for Bikeability, which again is likely to exclude certain less well-off areas.

 

Consultation question 4: Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve road user education to help support more and safer walking and cycling?

Nationwide safety campaigns e.g. the West Midland Police’s close pass initiative. These seem to be very dependent on particular Police forces.

A national campaign backed up with local campaigns to foster mutual road user understanding. Have a look at the DfT/AA/CTC work from 25 years ago, which was a good start (we can dig this out if it is helpful).

Strong encouragement to the use of bells. Pedestrians and horse riders are almost universally appreciative of an early warning of a cyclist approaching.

Dog owners should take more responsibility for controlling their dogs on shared paths. Use of long leads should be disincentived (there have been serious cycling injuries).

 

Consultation question 5: Do you have any suggestions on how government policy on vehicles and equipment could improve safety of cyclists and pedestrians, whilst continuing to promote more walking and cycling?

Imperative that problems of driverless cars hitting cyclists is addressed urgently.

Concern about the safety implications of larger HGVs especially given the existing problems of blind areas.

Assisted/electric bikes offer a real solution for journeys over 2 miles in particular. For example, journeys from villages to nearest service or town centre. Many villages are linked to towns by busy roads with fast moving traffic, so providing safe routes will be essential.

 

Consultation question 6: What can government do to support better understanding and awareness of different types of road user in relation to cycle use in particular?

A national campaign backed up with local campaigns to foster mutual road user understanding. Have a look at the DfT/AA/CTC work from 25 years ago, which was a good start (we can dig this out if it is helpful).

 

A final comment. This review is a real opportunity to address underlying safety issues affecting (and deterring) cycling. Please don’t just tinker around the edges-introduce meaningful changes.

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