Cycling prioritised in new road safety plans

As part of a two year action plan to improve road safety, Jesse Norman has announced aims for a new cycling and walking champion, to promote cycle and pedestrian-friendly policies.

The Department for Transport has revealed a number of ground-breaking initiatives to improve road safety, seeking to combat road rage and encourage greater mutual respect between road users and protect the most vulnerable.

As part of this, councils will be given powers to tackle dangerous parking in mandatory cycle lanes, and will also be encouraged to spend around 15 per cent of their local transport infrastructure funding on walking and cycling.

The Cycling and Walking Minister also said that the government will appoint a new cycling and walking champion, to ensure new policies meet the needs of road users across the UK, with the Department for Transport hosting a new 2019 Bikeability Summit encouraging businesses to promote cycling and walking schemes to their employees.

Other initiatives within the 50 proposals include whether insurance companies could offer discounts to drivers and motorcyclists who have passed Bikeability training, as well as plans to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer journey, by 2040.

Norman said: “Greater road safety— and especially the protection of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – is essential. We want to improve air quality, encourage healthy exercise, reduce obesity and boost our high streets and economic productivity. That means more support for cycling and walking, and that’s why these new measures are designed to deliver.”

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, the road safety charity, said: “People who choose to cycle or walk should be able to do so in a safe and welcoming environment; active travel is not only great for personal health but public health too. With cyclists and pedestrians among the most vulnerable on our roads, safety, and the perceptions of safety, need to be addressed to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and get active. We welcome the government’s action plan, which couldn’t be more timely as people across the country are encouraged to be more #BikeSmart for national Road Safety Week.”