Memorandum by the Cyclists Touring Club
I am responding to the above consultation on
behalf of the CTC. The CTC is the UK's national cycle users' organisation.
More than 70,000 people support our work for cycling and use our
services. The CTC welcomes the inquiry and its comprehensive scope.
Speed is the biggest single contributory factor
in road crashes: as speeds go up, the likelihood of crashes goes
up, for any given set of road conditions. Inappropriate speed
choicedriving too fast for the conditionsis the
major factor in up to a half of road crashes and contributes to
The severity of crashes increases with speed.
Where 20 mph zones have been introduced and enforced, all casualties
have fallen by around 60 per cent. In residential areas where
speeds have been reduced from 30 to 20 mph, child pedestrian casualties
have fallen by 70 per cent. Speed amplifies all risks in any given
traffic situation; it should be assumed to be a factor in all
Quality of Life in Urban Areas
Roads intersect our community spaces and as
well as having a transport function, are places where people live
and work, and where children play. Reducing traffic speed and
aggressive driving through engineering, education and enforcement
is crucial to preserving the non-traffic function of roads.
Pedestrian and Cyclist Casualties
Cyclist casualties should be considered along
with pedestrian crashes. Transport Research Laboratory research
(TRL 421) shows that it is the differential in speed between different
users that is the main factor associated with crashes. 20 mph
speed limits provide the greatest amount of equity between different
Speed and Social Exclusion
The negative impacts of traffic speed on the
quality of life of socially excluded communities is greater than
on other communities. The socially excluded are less able than
others to escape these impacts. The impact of high speeds and
crashes disproportionately effect children, especially from poorer
families, the elderly and those without access to a car.
Road crashes are the single biggest killer of
school age children, accounting for two-thirds of premature child
deaths. More than 200 children die each year on Britain's roads.
Child Pedestrian Safety in the United Kingdom (DTp 1996) states
that "children in the lowest Socio-Economic Groups are four
times more likely to be killed as pedestrians than their higher
Socio-Economic Group counterparts."
Napier University produced similar findings
for the Scottish Executive in 2000: in the 5-11 year old group,
the least wealthy 15 per cent of the population were eight times
more likely to be casualties of pedestrian accidents than the
most affluent 15 per cent.  A higher proportion of these children
live beside main roads with fast traffic. Young cyclists in particular
are over-represented in casualty figures. Eight cyclists aged
8-11, per 100,000 of the population were killed or seriously injured
in 2000. The figure for those aged 12-15 is 14. This compares
to an average across all ages of 4.8. 
Traffic speed brings noise and pollution. It
restricts children's ability to play and disproportionately hinders
cyclists, pedestrians, the disabled and the elderly.
The UK has witnessed a shift to the car as a
primary transport mode. Traffic management has emphasised flow
rates, supported by cost benefit analysis which values time savings
for motorists highly.
In this policy environment the needs of motorised
traffic have become paramount. The reasons for inappropriate speed
are complex but include:
Road design facilitating high speeds.
Driver training stresses "making
Vehicles are designed for far higher
speeds than permissible under law.
Car advertising has stressed performance.
Inappropriate speed limits.
Speeding not seen as a real crime.
A hostile traffic environment discourages cycling;
cycling has subsequently decreased. Consequently road casualty
statistics can mislead as the growth of motor traffic has not
led to more safety but more danger.
Increasing levels of cycling need not lead to
more cyclist casualties as the experience in Edinburgh, York and
in other European countries has shown. Examples are contained
within the National Cycling Forum leaflet A Safety Framework
for Cycling (April 1999).
The relative risks of motorised transport and
cycling, when measured over vehicle-kilometres travelled are distorted
by the growth of motorway travel. Motorways have lower crash rates
than built up areasprimarily because of junctions and speed
differential between different users. Three quarters of cycling
takes place in built up areas.
Crash statistics should be measured on a per
trip basis rather than per vehicle kilometre to more accurately
reflect the fact that most trips and most transport is local.
A trip is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. The
benefit to the individual making a trip is in its end purpose,
which can often be satisfied at a local destination, rather its
Speed management can improve cycling conditions,
if it does not introduce new hazards. At lower speeds, cyclists
can mix with motor vehicles in relative safety. Restraining motor
vehicle speed is a major factor in establishing better conditions
for cycle use.
Tackling speed should not be limited to areas
with an existing accident record. Local authorities should implement
speed reduction measures based on wider criteria such as community
demand, quality of life and regeneration indicators, sustainable
transport objectives and crash probability and to encourage people
to walk/cycle more.
The effectiveness of speed reduction in reducing
crashes and casualties was illustrated by the DTLR's Safety Camera
On average there were 35 per cent
fewer collisions at camera sites, more than expected.
On average, 47 per cent fewer people
were killed and seriously injured at the camera sites. 
The focus of safety strategy should be to reduce
danger at source through crash reduction, rather than a casualty.
Speed should be managed through the following hierarchy:
Changes to speed limits.
Engineering measures such as home
zones and traffic calming.
There should be a national review of speed limits
with a presumption that they should be decreased wherever practical.
A 20mph speed limit should become the norm for built-up areas
and rural settlements, with higher speeds permitted only where
it is possible to reallocate road space to pedestrians and cyclists.
The Dutch are achieving this through a systematic reclassification
of their urban road network. The European Best Practice report
(http://www.cfit.gov.uk/research/ebp/exec/index.htm) shows that
30kph in Europe is a "key essential element" in best
practice in the "balanced use of road space".
The speed camera "hypothecation" trials
have shown that speed cameras are effective in cutting speed:
On average, the percentage of drivers
exceeding the speed limit dropped from 55 per cent to 16 per cent.
The percentage of drivers exceeding
the speed limit by more than 15mph at camera sites has reduced
from an average of 5 per cent to 1 per cent.
Average speed at the camera site
has reduced on average by 5.6mph. 
Speed cameras should be to encourage drivers
to keep to the speed limit in all areas rather than at specific
locations. Making cameras highly visible will only improve safety
in the vicinity of the cameras.
Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA)
The problem of speed should be controlled at
source through vehicle design. The Government should start to
develop policies which will both require and provide incentives
for the introduction of driver-operated in-car speed limiters.
CTC welcomes DTLR funded research into ISA speed
limiters undertaken by the University of Leeds and MIRA. We are
pleased this will extend to motorcycles and large trucks. Central
and local government should prioritise the development of digital
road-maps to facilitate this work.
The development of ISA on a wider basis should
be encouraged. Government and the motor industry should consider
the voluntary adoption of ISA. 
Traffic calming can improve road safety by reducing
average speed of motor vehicles and speed differentials between
motorised and non-motorised vehicles. It is most effective within
a package of measures.
Much traffic calming has had the unintended
effect of creating hazards for cyclists. This is unnecessary,
as a number of authorities in the UK have clearly demonstrated
in their implementation of traffic calming.
Traffic calming must be of a cycle-friendly
design. Vertical deflection of cyclists should be avoided. Local
Authorities should use sinusoidal profile humps which are more
"Pinch points" increase
danger for cyclists. Where possible cyclist bypasses should be
provided. Where unavoidable, the Transport Research Laboratory
has identified optimum widths for pinch points. 
The Government must dispense with
the requirement for a casualty history where local authorities
intend to introduce traffic calming and instead consider community
demand, quality of life, regeneration and sustainable transport
The DTLR issues Traffic Advisory
Leaflets to promote cycle-friendly traffic calming. Sadly, much
of this advice is not actually implemented. Cycle Audit is used
to examine new highway schemes for cycle-friendliness. Cycle Review
is a similar methodology applied to existing infrastructure. 
We recommend that the Government should make Cycle Audit and review
In the UK, traffic calming is seen as a functional
engineering tool. However, there is increasing evidence from other
European countries, along with a few recent UK examples, of the
benefits of an Urban Design approach to speed reduction. Through
the removal of road signs and markings and reducing the distinction
between the road and the footway, replacing these with visual
clues as to the function of an area, drivers respond by adjusting
their behaviour. Such an approach involving a "self-explaining"
village road design has been successfully trialled in Norfolk.
The Government should promote such schemes by establishing a programme
of demonstration projects to apply urban design principles to
Recently some areas in the UK, have turned residential
streets into Home Zones switching priority away from motor vehicles.
Typically the streets do not carry large volumes of traffic and
have support from the local community. Home Zones are particularly
important in creating an environment in which children can learn
to ride their bikes in safety. The Government should promote the
rapid expansion of Home Zones.
Quiet Lanes could encourage countryside cycle
tourism and contribute to speed management. There is scope for
reclassifying urban and rural roads to enhance safety; narrow
rural roads carrying the national speed limit are dangerous for
cyclists. The Government should promote the rapid expansion of
Safe Routes to School
Safe Routes to School have had a great impact
in enabling children to use sustainable modes, reducing traffic
volumes and reducing the disproportionate impact of speed and
crashes on children. The Government should promote the rapid expansion
of Safe Routes to Schools.
Motorists and cyclists share a responsibility
to understand the needs of other road users.
Driving instruction should emphasise the need
to respect cyclists on the road. The Highway Code should include
more emphasis on the duty of care which road users owe to each
other. We would welcome the expansion of the Think! and the What-It?
Driver awareness campaigns.
Training schemes do exist but they are run on
an ad hoc basis and there is no national standard. Advice and
training for teenagers and adults should include positive messages
about the potential of the bike as a transport mode.
The Governments Road Safety Strategy (2000)
stated that Ministers would work with the CTC on a national training
scheme for adults and teenage cyclists. This is being progressed
through the CTC/Cycle West training project, funded by the DTLR.
It will create a high profile, national cycle training scheme,
recognised as being of high quality and endorsed by cycling experts
with the aim of:
Reducing casualties among cyclists.
Supporting those keen to cycle.
Addressing negative aspects of some
Preparing young people for safe road
The Government should ensure that this training
scheme is rolled out nationwide as soon as possible.
Motorcyclists casualties are out of proportion
to their use. Road Accidents Great Britain 2000 shows an 11 per
cent increase in PTW casualties since 1999. In view of this, we
are opposed to the use by PTWs of cycle lanes, bus lanes and advanced
stop lines. Such measures increase the vulnerability of cyclists
to speeding traffic.
In 1999, the number of speed limit offences
dealt with by police action increased by 4 per cent to over one
million.  Despite a range of penalties, prosecution rarely
results in disqualification or imprisonment.
Enforcement practices should reflect
impacts on vulnerable road users.
There should be tough sentencing
using driving bans, disqualification, re-testing and fines.
Enforcement should be a core policing
Vulnerable road users should be protected
by strict liability offences, removing the contributory negligence
Cyclists' best interests are served
by modifying other road users' behaviour, but occasionally cyclists
themselves might be targeted.
Home Office and Judiciary
Drivers who cause death or injury through negligence,
carelessness or recklessness receive comparatively lenient punishment
to those who kill by other means. This despite an average 10 UK
road deaths a day.
The Home Office should designate
traffic law enforcement a policing priority.
The 1991 Road Traffic Act should
be reformed to allow courts to treat traffic crime more seriously.
Courts should assume a higher duty
of care by those in control of motor vehicles.
The Government should consider how
the legal system might ensure that a conviction reflects the severity
of traffic crime.
Vulnerable road users should be protected
by strict liability offences, removing the contributory negligence
The insurance industry should abandon
insurance policies covering drivers disqualified for speeding.
Insurance law should be amended so
that motorists who injure children are automatically deemed 100
per cent liable for compensation.
We commend the recommendation in Options for
Civilising Road Traffic (1997).
The CTC is strongly in favour of progressive
Speed Management Strategies which should be required within the
LTP process. The Government should encourage and support local
authorities in the development and implementation of pilot initiatives.
In particular, the proposal by Lancashire County Council to pilot
a scheme based on that successfully developed for Victoria, Australia,
has so far failed to obtain satisfactory funding. The Victoria
scheme entails high profile enforcement with near zero tolerance,
and resulted in a reduction of all casualties by a third over
a two year period. We wish to see such initiatives fully supported
and monitored by Government, so that the lessons learnt can be
applied more widely.
Existing speed strategies should be reviewed
and a best practice guide published. This would offer guidance
on achieving a more harmonious interaction with vulnerable road
The CTC welcomes this inquiry. Illegal and Inappropriate
traffic speed causes crashes and increases the impact and severity
of crashes. It degrades the quality of life and threatens the
non-traffic function of roads. The socially excluded are particularly
vulnerable to speeding traffic whilst many pedestrians and cyclists
are afraid to use the road network. Tackling Speed is crucial
to improve conditions for cyclists through changes to speed. Engineering
measures are also necessary but most be vastly improved to be
effective. Better driver training and education is needed so that
drivers understand the consequences of illegal and inappropriate
speed. Much tougher enforcement of speeding needs to be introduced
and reflected at all stages of the legal system.
 Road Accidents and Children Living in
Disadvantaged Areas Stationary Office.
 Road Accidents Great Britain 2000.
 DTLR Cost Recovery System for Traffic
Safety Cameras; First Year Report (Executive Summary) Aug 2001.
 DTLR News Release 359: 13 August 2001;
DTLR Cost Recovery System for Traffic Safety Cameras; First Year
Report (Executive Summary) Aug 2001.
 Intelligent Speed Adaptation, briefing
paper, PACTS Dec 2001.
 Measures to Control Traffic for the
Benefit of Residents, Pedestrians and Cyclists, (DETR) TAL 1/87.
 DETR Cycle Audit and Review. http://www.roads.dtlr.gov.uk/roadnetwork/ditm/tal/cycle/0798/index.htm
 Home Office (Wilkins, Hayward &
Johnson) Motoring Offences England and Wales 1998 and 1999 December