The fight for greater cycling safety has a new ally this morning with The Times newspaper launching a Save Our Cyclists campaign. The campaign is a call for safer roads, but also a plea to motorists that they can co-exist safely with cyclists on the road.
The Times’ campaign sets out an eight point manifesto for safer cycling infrastructure/policy that it wants politicians and transport authorities to achieve to make cities that are fit for cycling:
- Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
- The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
- A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
- Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
- The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
- 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
- Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
- Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.
Analysis conducted by the Times found that twice as many cyclists have been killed in the past decade as the number of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, while a cyclist in Britain is three times more likely to be killed than one in the Netherlands and twice as likely as a cyclist in Denmark or Germany.
The Times’ campaign is in many ways is heartfelt. One of the paper’s journalists, Mary Bowers, was hit by a lorry just yards away from the Newspaper’s offices in November last year. Mary is still not conscious and is making a slow recovery in hospital.
The Times campaign coincides with the release today from British Cycling of its Road Safety Report. The report calls for the government to help engineer greater mutual respect between motorists and cyclists to make the road a safer place to ride a bike.
Among the potential solutions highlighted to make mutual respect a reality were to include greater cycle awareness in the driving test and Highway Code, ensure better enforcement of the law on mobile phone use while driving, and improve poorly laid out roads and junctions which pose a danger particularly to inexperienced cyclists.
To read the full British Cycling Road Safety Report, click here.
The Times is asking for cyclists and the public to support its campaign. You can pledge your support here. They also want cyclists and the public to raise the issue of cycle safety with MPs by emailing MPs directly on the issue.