Encouraging Walking and Cycling 10.02.21
As a Road Transport Planner and Engineer (now retired) I was responsible for investigating road traffic accidents with the Police and providing solutions where possible. I also introduced a number of shared pedestrian/cycle routes which were very popular. My team worked with schools to provide safe walking routes to school. The main problem, in my opinion, with encouraging walking and cycling in this country is that car drivers in general regard themselves as superior and that they have priority. With the proposed revision to the Highway Code giving priority to walkers and cyclists, there may be a change of attitude but most drivers have no reason to look at the Code once they have passed their test. I believe this change of priority will be difficult to enforce without a change in the law. Suggestions – The Highway Code to become Highway Law. Driving Licences to be valid for a fixed period such as five to ten years with driving tests needed before renewal. This will ensure that all drivers know the Law and understand that pedestrians and cyclists have priority as they already do in some European countries. The retaking of driving tests could commence with the youngest drivers. This would have the greatest effect in reducing accidents and hopefully encourage more walking, cycling and using public transport. The testing would provide additional funding to the government. The use of electric cars and bicycles is increasing and have the potential to cause more accidents. The cars can accelerate more quickly and are quieter. Electric bicycles will go faster than most conventional ones and weigh much more with the potential to cause greater injuries to pedestrians. Now might be the time to change the priority and consider re-testing drivers!