Government reviews how road users behave with pedestrians and cyclists

As a company that specialises in pedestrian surveys – looking for ways to make places safer for all the people who use them – we were interested to see a recent statement by the Department for Transport.

The statement said that the government is planning to review the current Highway Code, in order to update guidance on how to make sure pedestrians and cyclists are safer when using the road system. The review is part of the government’s drive to reduce the fatality rate amongst this group of road users.

In particular, the review will give new and clearer guidance on the issue of ‘close passing’, to help drivers be aware of how wide a berth they should ideally give to cyclists and pedestrians. Many accidents are caused when vehicles pass too closely, either making contact with the cyclist or pedestrian, or unnerving them so that they lose control and fall into the path of the vehicle. The review will also look at the issue of people opening vehicle doors into the road without checking whether there is a cyclist approaching.

Focus on pedestrian health and safety

The Cycling and Walking Minister, Jess e Norman said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need them to be safer still for all – and particularly for cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. Cycling and walking are increasingly being understood as crucial parts of an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality and town and city planning. But this will only happen if people feel safe on the roads. These measures are part of a steady process of improvement and reform designed to achieve just that.”

The Department for Transport has also announced a new national guide for safe cycling, and said that Highways England has agreed a £3m contract with Sustrans to deliver improvements to the National Cycle Network.

The impact of pedestrian surveys

It’s easy for pedestrians to be ignored when it comes to network improvements, or indeed new developments. And yet, providing safe, accessible and attractive pedestrian areas, along with clear crossings, traffic calming and other infrastructure can completely transform not just the look and feel of the area, but the safety of all those using it.

At RDS, we work with a wide range of clients to encourage pedestrian and non-motorised access to towns, cities and new developments. To find out more, contact us today.

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