Roads: Safety

Department for Transport written question – answered on 28th October 2022.

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Photo of Janet Daby Janet Daby Labour, Lewisham East

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps her Department plans to take to improve road safety near schools.

Photo of Mark Harper Mark Harper The Secretary of State for Transport

On 29 January 2022, we updated The Highway Code to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians by strengthening pedestrian priority on pavements and at crossings and introducing the Hierarchy of Road Users, which places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision, including children, at the top of the hierarchy. The Highway Code makes it clear that those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they pose to others and highlights the need to take care and be particularly aware of young cyclists and pedestrians near schools.

Local authorities have a range of traffic management measures available to them to help improve safety outside schools. These include 20mph speed limits, traffic calming, and introduction of a School Street where appropriate. Local authorities have the power to set speed limits on their roads. Authorities are also enabled to place advisory part-time 20mph speed limits signs in the vicinity of schools without the need for Government approval. It is for local authorities to determine what measures are appropriate in individual cases. They have the local knowledge making them the best placed to do so.

The Gear Change plan for walking and cycling (2020) included a number of steps which will support and increase safety of active travel to school, including increasing the number of School Streets (a timed restriction of motorised traffic at the start and end of the school day). The Department for Transport plans to publish School Streets guidance for local authorities in due course.

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