CTC gives evidence to Select Committee inquiry into road safety

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The House of Commons Transport Select Committee scrutinises the Department for Transport's spending and policy decisions. Following the launch of a new policy on road safety the Select Committee chose that topic to investigate.
CTC gives evidence to Select Committee inquiry into road safety
CTC gives evidence to Select Committee inquiry into road safety

The Transport Select Committee's Inquiry was conducted in early 2012, taking oral evidence from a range of transport and road safety organisations, including CTC.

Of particular interest to the Committee was the question of whether targets for casualty reduction should be reinstated. The Coalition Government had abandoned the concept of targets, yet many stakeholders have suggested that these had been very effective in focusing resources and policy onto the problem of road safety.

CTC's view is that there should be targets for reductions in casualties for motor vehicles, however, for vulnerable road users, it is more important to measure risk of being injured or killed. This is because vulnerable modes such as walking and cycling are riskier than driving in terms of numbers of casualties, but better from a public health, environment and congestion perspective.

If local authorities just measured numbers of people being injured or killed they might feel wary about adopting policies to increase levels of walking and cycling for fear of upsetting targets to reduce casualties. CTC's Safety in Numbers campaign set out to explain how increasing cycling could go hand in hand with reducing the risk of cycilng.

Other issues raised in CTC's submissions included:

  • concerns about the operation of the system of road traffic law, in particular the framework for dealing with individuals who kill;
  • the need for lower speed limits to be more widely used, particularly 20 mph in urban areas;
  • a desire to see the risks to cyclists from major roads, junctions and lorries minimised.

CTC's supplementary evidence to the Inquiry gives more detail on these topics, including the longer lorries trial. Of particular concern is the misleading statement of the Minister that the Department for Transport "considered carefully whether longer semi-trailers posed a risk to cyclists in particular, and the risk is not there." A subsequent written question confirmed that no such 'careful consideration' took place.

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