IAM RoadSmart has said that proposals announced this morning to shake up the Highway Code to make motorists always give way to pedestrians and cyclists do not go far enough – and need to include longer-term measures to keep drivers and cyclists segregated in a safer cycling environment.
Today (18 October) in a move designed to boost the protection of vulnerable road users going straight on at junctions, the Department for Transport is considering this new ’give way’ rule.
In the Highway Code, Rule 170 states that pedestrians have priority "if they have started to cross." However it does not explain what should happen when someone is about to step off a pavement at the same time a vehicle arrives at a junction.
In addition the Department of Transport is considering adopting the ‘Dutch reach’ technique for opening car doors – which involves people in a car using the hand which is furthest from the handle, encouraging them to check over their shoulder for approaching traffic.
Earlier this year, an IAM RoadSmart survey found that 73% of respondents felt that the Government was not doing enough to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians (reference 1), and more than 50% thought that the current driving test did not properly prepare new drivers to deal safely with cyclists and pedestrians.
Around three-quarters thought that more cycle paths would encourage more people to take up cycling, and more than half thought that cycle training in schools should be compulsory.
Last year there were 18,321 pedal cyclist casualties and 23,805 pedestrian casualties on UK roads (Government figures).
Rebecca Ashton, head of policy and research from IAM RoadSmart said: “For us it’s all about segregation, and safe streets for cycling and walking if you want to get cycle usage to really take off.
“IAM RoadSmart has long said that if the Government is serious about wanting to increase the uptake of cycling and reduce the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, there has to be a long-term approach to a comprehensive cycle path network and it’s good to see the announcement of a £3 million contract with Sustrans which is a step towards that goal.”
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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.
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