Alex Bowden November 22 2017
The government’s cycle safety review will not be based on ‘knee jerk reaction’ but on ‘solid evidence’ according to transport minister Jesse Norman. Promising a wide-reaching look at how safety can be improved “for cyclists and other road users in relation to cycling,” he said that a number of measures would be considered, including mandatory hi-vis and helmets.
Launched in response to “a series of high profile incidents involving cyclists” according to the official press release, the government’s cycle safety review will be in two parts.
The first phase will look at whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists, while the second will take a broad look at cycling road safety issues.
BikeBiz reports that while speaking at the Department for Transport sponsored Cycling + Walking Innovations 2017 conference, Norman revealed the second phase would be launched with a consultation in the new year and would be, “a wider and more embracing look at how safety can be improved for cyclists and other road users in relation to cycling.
“That could be infrastructure, education, signage and other things which could contribute to a successful and effective transition to a world in which walking and cycling are enormous. It’s not going to be based on any knee jerk reaction; it will be based on solid evidence.”
Asked whether measures up for consideration might include mandatory hi-vis or helmets, Norman replied that he didn’t have a personal position on those issues, but that they would be up for debate.
“That is something in relation to the cycle safety review where we will see what the evidence and the submissions say,” he said.
“If you want to have a society where a 12-year-old can get on a bicycle it’s a serious issue as to whether you’re going to mandate hi-vis or helmets and there will be many arguments about whether the safety benefits outweigh or do not outweigh the deterrent effect that might have on people cycling. So we’re going to leave that to the review.”
Asked whether a national standard for cycle infrastructure might be adopted, he suggested that this “could be addressed in the review when it goes out for public discussion.”
Quite what the government hopes to achieve with this review remains up for debate, with Norman emphasising the importance of making cyclists feel safe, while simultaneously claiming that British roads are among the safest in the world.
“We very much believe cyclists have to feel safe,” he said. “There has to be harmonious interaction between all road users. We have to get over the perception that cycling is somehow unsafe around busy roads when the reality is that we have some of the very safest roads in the world.”