Cycling and walking are increasingly being understood not just as modes of transport but as crucial parts of an integrated approach to issues of health, obesity, air quality, and town and city planning.
In this context, I am today publishing a response to the Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS): Safety Review Call for Evidence (“Call for Evidence”).
The CWIS, published in 2017, set out the Government’s ambition to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys, or as part of a longer one, by 2040. When the Department for Transport published the Call for Evidence on 9 March this year, I restated the Government’s commitment to increasing cycling and walking and making the UK’s roads safer for vulnerable users, including cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
The Call for Evidence was very well received, with over 14,000 responses from members of the public of every age and description, as well as local authorities, cycling and walking organisations, police forces and more. People responded with vigour, sending the Department for Transport great ideas, evidence of what works, examples of good practice from other countries, innovative technologies, and imaginative solutions.
More recently on 18 October, the Department published a purely factual document summarising the Call for Evidence responses and setting out the main themes emerging from our analysis.
We continued to analyse the contributions to the Call for Evidence, as well as outputs from our regional workshops held in London, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester. The Government response published today includes a range of safety measures that will bring cycling and walking closer together as part of the Government’s overall ambition to increase active travel. The response also sets out a vision and a two year plan of action, with 21 packages of measures addressing the key themes and issues raised in the Call for Evidence.
Among the key measures are:
• A review of guidance in the Highway Code to improve safety for vulnerable road users;
• New investment to support the police to improve enforcement by developing a national back office function to handle footage provided through dash-cam evidence;
• Enforcement against parking in mandatory cycle lanes;
• The appointment of a new Cycling and Walking Champion to raise the profile of Active Travel;
• Encouragement for local authorities to increase investment in cycling and walking infrastructure to 15 per cent of total transport infrastructure spending
• Work with key cycling and walking organisations to develop a behaviour change campaign alongside the Action Plan.
All these measures are designed to support the continued growth of cycling and walking, with all the benefits they bring to our communities, economy, environment and society.
I recognise and value the tremendous amount of activity being undertaken nationally to keep vulnerable road users safe. The Department for Transport wants to provide effective leadership and support to the wide range of partners and other bodies who collectively work together with great commitment to make a real difference to cycling and walking safety. We look forward to continuing our close working with other government departments, devolved administrations, motoring agencies, local councils, police, cycling and walking organisations, motoring groups, road safety campaigners and wider stakeholders to take forward this action plan.
The House may also be aware that we have recently carried out a separate consultation on new cycling offences, which closed on 5 November. It sought views on whether cyclists should face offences similar to those of causing death or serious injury when driving dangerously or carelessly. We are in the process of analysing responses and will publish our response in due course.