Cycling UK has asked the government to take a look at six areas where it believes simple changes can be made to improve cycle safety. ‘Why wouldn’t you make these changes?’ the charity asks and it is encouraging people to ask precisely that when contributing to the government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) review.
The “Cycling safety: make it simple” campaign asks the government to immediately prioritise the following as part of its review:
- Road and street design
- Changes to the Highway Code
- Safer vehicles, especially lorries
- Road traffic offences and penalties review
If you agree, you can fill out a form on the charity’s website to contribute to the CWIS review before it closes on June 1.
Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK’s CEO commented: “Air pollution, obesity, congestion, increasing danger on our roads – these are all major problems the Government faces. With ‘Cycle safety: make it simple’, Cycling UK has done the hard work and provided a range of easy and cost-effective solutions to all of these problems.
“This isn’t just about cycling, because more and safer walking and cycling can and should go hand-in-hand. Implementing Cycling UK’s proposals would make our streets safer and more attractive for everyone.”
The campaign is being backed by Darrell Martin, whose brother Lee was killed after being hit by a driver who was texting at the time. The driver had eight previous convictions for using his phone at the wheel.
Darrell said: “Drivers who are clearly putting people’s lives at risk should be taken off the roads before they’re given the chance to kill. We shouldn’t be waiting for a tragedy to happen, and certainly drivers who have seven or eight convictions shouldn’t be given more chances to get back behind the wheel.
“The justice system needs to take this much more seriously. If they had, my brother would still be alive.”
Another step suggested by Cycling UK is to make amendments to the Highway Code, including the introduction of the “Dutch Reach” technique for opening car doors.
The Dutch Reach involves using your opposite hand to open the door when exiting a vehicle. It is taught to learner drivers in the Netherlands as it twists your upper body so that you can’t help but look behind you, minimising the chance that you might door a passing cyclist. It also restricts how far the door can open.
In July 2016, Leicester school teacher Sam Boulton was killed on his 26th birthday in a tragic car dooring incident outside Leicester railway station.
His father Jeff said: “By introducing something as simple as the Dutch Reach into the Highway Code, teaching drivers to look over their shoulder before opening their door, we could make the journeys of hundreds of cyclists safer every year. It’s easy to teach and costs nothing, so why wouldn’t you?”
Cycling UK is also calling for greater resources to be given to roads policing, a national roll out of Transport for London’s restriction of unsafe lorries, the creation and adoption of national design standards for cycling infrastructure and an adequate level of funding to encourage more cycling while making it safer.
Again, members of the public can support Cycling UK’s suggestions at www.cyclinguk.org/whywouldntyou