5 Cycle safety |
30. Cyclists are specifically identified in the
Government's vision for road safety as a group in which casualty
numbers need to be reduced.
3,085 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in 2011. This
is a 15% increase on the previous year.
However, there is evidence of recent increases in the number
of people cycling and the frequency with which they do so.
It is therefore difficult to tell the extent to which these increases
in casualty numbers are a function of there being more cyclists
on the roads. A
rate-based measure of cycle casualties, as proposed by the outcomes
framework, should help to clarify this.
Nonetheless, increasing numbers of casualties in any road user
group is unacceptable. A number of solutions to help reduce cycle
casualties have been put to us, and are discussed below.
31. The wider uptake of cycling in recent years
is to be welcomed,
but the Road Haulage Associated warned that
We have seen a very rapid increase of cyclists who
may have a fairly low level of appreciation of risk. [...] We
have to be aware that there is a very rapid increase of cyclists
who are not given very much instruction as to good road behaviour.
[...] I wonder if there is more scope for cycle awareness training,
even when they buy a bicycle. "What is the best way to operate
£11 million a year is currently provided for
Bikeability training in schools.
Cycling group CTC noted this, but highlighted a relative absence
of training provision for adults: "we think there needs to
be training made available for adults who wish either to discover
or rediscover cycling later in life to give them the confidence
and skills to handle the major roads."
32. HGVs are involved in 20% of collisions where
the cyclist was killed.
CTC argued that more could be done by the haulage industry to
address these statistics. In particular, it argued in favour
of fitting lorries with sensors to make cyclists more visible
to the driver. We saw some of the systems that can be added to
HGVs during a demonstration by CEMEX on the Parliamentary Estate.
We heard about their experience kitting out their HGV fleet with
sensors and mirrors. There are a range of options for the types
of systems that can be fitted.
The RHA warned us that
We are aware of the possibilities of sensors. We
believe that in the long run it is very likely that some sort
of sensors will come into the HGV sector. [...] There is a risk
that sensors create an additional input for the driver, who has
a lot going on around him. We just want to be sure that they are
CTC acknowledged that "sensory overload"
was a potential issue for drivers, but insisted that sensors were
cheap and could save lives.
should consider how to encourage greater adoption of these measures.
33. Several witnesses argued that drivers needed
to be more aware of vulnerable users. This awareness could be
improved by including cycle or pedestrian safety as an element
in the driving test.
Mr Penning told us that there was ongoing work in this area that
may address these concerns.
Urban planning and infrastructure
34. Despite the growing popularity of cycling,
we were told that "the infrastructure stays static."
The paucity of infrastructure for cyclists was described to us
by James Harding, editor of The Times, as follows:
At the moment our cities are not fit for cyclists.
They are dangerous for cyclists and we need to build new roads
and new pathways. We have to rethink our cities in much the same
way as a few really wonderful cities in Europe.
He argued that this could be addressed by greater
investment from Government, possibly by using a fixed proportion
of the Highways Agency budget.
35. An alternative suggestion was that greater
consideration should be given to cyclists during the planning
process. Jon Snow told us
There are all sorts of planning regulations that
facilitate living in an urban area. [...] It is absolutely essential
that, if cycle safety is to be developed, there has to be compulsion
in the planning system to make provision in every new urban development
for the bicycle
Mr Penning expressed some sympathy for the idea of
building cycle provision into developments from an early stage
as part of improvements to the road network:
If you are building something from scratch, there
is no real extra cost in building into it that you are going to
make sure that cyclists and pedestrians are in it. [...]We have
only a limited amount of money, but when we do adapt, especially
within my network, one of the things I am very conscious of is
that we must make sure that the connectivity is there. There should
not be any extra cost if you start from scratch.
36. Road engineering measures can be particularly
important to help improve cycle safety. However, Norman Baker,
Minister for sustainable travel, pointed out that the provision
of infrastructure and inclusion of cyclists in the planning process
was not simply a matter for the DfT, but needed a joined up approach
across departments. For example, the Department of Communities
and Local Government "need to ensure that there is proper
provision in the planning regime to take account of" cycling.
We have not seen much evidence to suggest that the DfT is making
sure that the necessary joint working is happening.
37. Part of the Government's localism agenda
looks to free local authorities to make their own decisions on
the prioritisation of projects and resources at a local level.
Despite the good intentions expressed by Mr Penning and Mr Baker
to support the provision of cycle infrastructure, ultimately Mr
Baker acknowledged that decisions on whether to build this infrastructure
are not in the hands of the DfT:
in terms of cycle lanes from local authorities, we
would not get into doing that, in the same way as we do not allocate
money for bollards. We just do not get involved in allocating
at that micro level. We allocate a transport block to local authorities,
which they are able to spend as they see fit for their transport
We agree that joint working between
departments will be necessary to achieve road safety outcomes.
We recommend that the Government shows how its efforts to work
in partnership with departments such as DCLG and local authorities
have been effective in encouraging the provision of cycle infrastructure
and outlines which problems in securing this joint-working have
yet to be overcome.
The Times campaign
38. The Times
has proposed an eight point manifesto to improve cycle safety
following an incident in which one of its news reporters, Mary
Bowers, was left critically injured after being hit by a lorry
whilst cycling to work in November 2011. This manifesto echoed
many of the points we have considered in this report.
In response to this campaign, the Prime Minister said:
I think The Times campaign is an excellent
campaign. I strongly support what they are trying to do. Anyone
who has got on a bicycle - particularly in one of our busier cities
- knows you are taking your life into your hands every time you
do so, and so we do need to do more to try and make cycling safer.
We commend The Times campaign's work to draw attention
to the work needed to make cycling safer. We consider the points
contained in its manifesto provide a roadmap for how cycle safety
can be improved.
Given the Prime Minister's support for The Times cycle
campaign, we recommend that the department issue a formal response
to each of its eight points showing how they are being addressed
and, if a point is not being acted on, what alternative action
is being taken to address the matter.
39. Several witnesses felt that there was a lack
of leadership from Government in the area of cycle safety. Indeed,
Jon Snow told us that "there is no leadership in Government
in cycling at all. It is a completely neglected area, whatever
it says on the paper."
He argued that Government departments with an interest in cycling
must work together more effectively because "leadership looks
like joining up Government." 
James Harding proposed that there should be individual commissioners
in major cities to highlight the interests of cyclists.
40. There have been a number of recent announcements
regarding funding for cycling or cycle safety initiatives:
- £15 million for cycle
safety schemes outside London was announced in June 2012. This
fund aims to tackle those junctions identified as being particularly
dangerous for cyclists.
Further details will not be available until the autumn.
- £15 million in the 2012 Budget to TfL for
investments in cycle safety, which will include improved provision
for cyclists at junctions across the capital as part of TfL's
cycle safety junction review."
- £15 million allocated to an initiative with
Sustrans and the Cycle Rail Working Group.
However, there is little detail available on the
projects to which this money is allocated, the progress in allocating
and initiating cycle safety schemes, or the success in delivering
road safety outcomes. Prior
to The Times campaign on cycle safety it was
difficult to see how the Government was showing leadership in
cycle safety. There is now evidence of commitment, but, as Jon
Snow said, leadership requires joining up Government. We are
not convinced that this is happening and therefore there is much
work still to be done.
88 Strategic Framework p11 Back
Reported road casualties in Great Britain: main results 2011 Back
Q 418 Back
Ev 139 para 3 Back
Q 43, Ev 139 para 3 Back
Q 397 Back
Q 55 Back
Strategic Framework p50 Back
Q 57 Back
Q 52, Ev 152 Back
Q 399 Back
Q 55 Back
Q 57 Back
Q 399 Jon Snow, Q 401 James Harding Back
Q 447 Back
Q 397 Jon Snow Back
Q 396 James Harding Back
Q 420 James Harding Back
Q 420 Jon Snow Back
Q 453 Mike Penning Back
Q 458 Norman Baker Back
Q 470 Norman Baker Back
The campaign considered fitting safety equipment to lorries, redesigning
dangerous junctions, collecting better data on cycle accidents,
earmarking £100 million from the Highways Agency budget for
infrastructure, improving training for cyclists and drivers, changing
the default speed limit in local areas without cycle lanes to
20 mph, encouraging businesses to sponsor cycle infrastructure
and appointing city cycling commissioners Back
Cameron backs cycle campaign as calls grow for extra funding,
The Times, 23 February 2012 Back
Q 391 Jon Snow Back
Q 411 Jon Snow Back
Q 413 James Harding Back
Further boost for cycle safety, DfT, June 2012, http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/statements/baker-20120626a
Budget 2012, HM Treasury, HC 1853, para 1.220 Back
£15 million growth funding on sustainable transport,
DfT, February 2012, http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/statements/baker-20120207/