(This article appeared in the 19th July 2019 issue of Local Transport Today as “Viewpoint” – online here)
Last week Lord Berkeley retired after 26 years as President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum (RDRF). So what has been achieved since we were set up in 1993? Is road danger being properly addressed? And since governance of policy on safety on the road is always part of wider transport policy, is the way our society views transport what we need for the 21st century? Despite some positive developments, the answer for both is no.
Tony Berkeley, President of the Road Danger Reduction Forum since its beginning in 1993, has retired from his position with the new interim President to be Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb.
Lord Berkeley said:
“After 26 years I am glad that Road Danger Reduction is now on the agenda as the way for improving safety for all road users. First the pedestrian and cyclist groups were on board, and the now the phrase is being used widely, such as in the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy, an important policy statement. I’m pleased that Jenny Jones will be taking up my role – we need to press ahead to make sure that danger is reduced at source, and not just talking about doing so.”
Jenny Jones has worked in the London Assembly and House of Lords for road danger reduction.
She says: “Our streets should belong to people first, vehicles second”. Jenny has worked to make safe space for walking and cycling, to improve public transport and to reduce traffic levels.
Current work by the RDRF includes being the Secretariat for West Midlands Police Road Harm Prevention Team, delivering training in road danger reduction to transport professionals, and advising transport authorities and campaigning groups.
For further information see http://www.rdrf.org.uk and https://jennyjones.org/.
As Secretariat for WMPRHRT we’re pleased to report on this approach adopted by them and described by PC Mark Hodson at the Leicester University Law School March 29th conference on Law Enforcement and Vulnerable Road Users.
At the “Cycle City Active City” conference in Manchester in July Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman commended the work on policing close passing of cyclists sby PCs Mark Hodson and Steve Hudson of the West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team (WMPRHRT), saying his Department “plans to build on it – it is a very effective way of building awareness and reducing casualties”.
By now readers of posts on this site will be aware of the existence of operations policing the close passing of cyclists and related enforcement based on reducing road danger at source. Our last update of what is happening nationally is here.
This post is about the work WMPRHRT carry out in general. For us they have been setting the Gold Standard for road danger reduction policing with the typical resources (the Metropolitan Police being the exception that proves the rule here) of a Police Service.
In broad terms, we support the ideas and recommendations set out by Cycling UK in their excellent “Cycle Safety: Make It Simple” report.
In this report we look more closely at issues such as: side road junctions and engineering convention, the issue of equality in transport design and practice, and the need for parity of spending for roads transport so that it is fairer to women, children and the disabled.
This document follows the structure set out by the Department for Transport CWIS Safety Review Survey.
1. Infrastructure and traffic signs
2. The laws and rules of the road
4. Educating road users
5. Vehicles and equipment
6. Attitudes and public awareness
We respond to questions with specific recommendations. Continue reading
Following the Alliston case (discussed here and here) we have discussed the demands for parity between cyclists and motorists with regard to the response from the criminal justice system, not least from the Kim Briggs Campaign . In particular, we have studied the meaning of The Times instruction to cyclists to “respect the rules of the road like everyone else” . We showed
that this would in fact mean that “cyclists” (the term refers to everybody who may ever ride a bicycle) would actually have to break rules and laws a lot more, and have to endanger other road users far, far more. That’s the actual rule and law breaking: what about the responses of the criminal justice system once the rule and law breaking has been detected, and in particular once collisions have occurred? Continue reading
2017 has seen two important steps forward for Road Danger Reduction (RDR) in the UK. But the transport status quo is still stacked against sustainable/healthy travel policy and the gains can easily be rolled back. So let’s have a look at what has happened to get RDR on the agenda – and what needs to be done to keep it there and push it further.