Government has today announced publication of a response to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS). 

Living Streets is part of the Walking and Cycling Alliance, a coalition of the UK’s leading walking and cycling organisations. In its initial reaction to Government plans for safety improvements for people walking and cycling, the alliance has indicated its support for proposals to amend the Highway Code on how road users should behave around vulnerable road users. 

These proposals were made as part of 50 recommendations published by the Department for Transport in response to their Cycling and Walking Safety Review conducted in March.

Made up of the Bicycle Association, Cycling UK, The Ramblers, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans, the organisations welcomed the suggestions which will look into providing priority for cyclists and walkers at junctions, clearer guidance on vehicles overtaking cyclists and also guidance on the “Dutch reach”.

There was disappointment among the group however that the Department for Transport’s plan to improve the safety of vulnerable road users did not place more emphasis on speed reduction.

“Lowering vehicle speeds around people walking, cycling and horse riding doesn’t just reduce the danger to them, but also their perception of the danger,” said Cycling UK CEO Paul Tuohy. “While the DfT’s proposals for amendments to the Highway Code will help save lives, ignoring the threat and dangers of speeding is disappointing.”

The alliance believes increasing road safety and reducing the perception of danger are crucial parts in the promotion of active travel, and says these need support across Government beyond the Department for Transport.

If we want more people cycling and walking in England, and enjoy the consequential health, environmental and economic benefits, it’s clear the Department for Transport needs support from across Whitehall. Other departments – health, justice, local communities and government all need to start mucking in and working with the DfT. Every department will share in the benefits of more people cycling and walking, so it’s only right that they should actively support the DfT, financially and administratively, to help to make this happen.

Paul Tuohy, CEO, Cycling UK (on behalf of the alliance)

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“Too often people walking pay the ultimate price on our roads. This is unacceptable and we need opportunities like this to make our roads safer. 

“Looking to improve the Highway Code for walking and cycling, and appointing a cycling and walking champion can help make our streets safer for everyone.  

“Lower speed limits in urban areas, more time to cross at light-controlled crossings, better street maintenance and constraints on pavement parking can all help encourage people to choose these cleaner and healthier ways to travel.”