This book is “…above all, a story of hope”. Those of us with a cynical mindset might be put off by such optimism and the extravagant claim of the title. But don’t be: Peter Walker is more or less spot on in each chapter of a book which clearly argues for cycling as a key solution to urban transport, health, social and environmental problems. Indeed, it should be read by all professionals – as well as campaigners and the general public – with an interest in transport policy, not just those who find themselves in a “cycling” niche. Continue reading
On November 15th there was a ground-breaking event: The Road Danger Reduction Forum gave its first ever award since inception in 1994. More importantly, the award – to West Midlands Police for their “Give Space: Be Safe” operation targeting close passing of cyclists by drivers – heralds (we hope) an exciting new approach by police services towards danger to cyclists. As well as WMTP, we heard from Camden Metropolitan Police Service on their operation based on the WMTP initiative. Both are characterised by recognising:
(a) The fundamental difference in the effects on others of errant behaviour by drivers on the one hand and cyclists on the other, and accordingly focusing on the driver misbehaviour.
(b) That behaviour which is intimidatory and deters potential cyclists from cycling – in this case close passing/overtaking – is worth addressing even if it is not the biggest cause of Killed and Seriously Injured casualties.
In other words, both approaches take a “harm-reduction” – or as we would say, danger reduction – approach. The award event at the House of Lords was packed out by campaigners, transport professionals and police officers. Cycling UK have referred to “Give Space: Be Safe” as “the best cyclist safety initiative by any police force, ever”
Below I try to describe some of what seem to me to be the key features of a crowded two- hour event: the two policing initiatives and some of the points raised in discussion.
You can see the WMTP in action on this extract from “The One Show” (alert: you have Phil Collins being a prat at the end of the extract) and read accounts in the press of “Give Space: Be Safe” (GSBS) here . You can read an account of the Camden MPS policing here . Also take a look at the in-depth discussion by Bez
In the transport practitioner’s fortnightly journal Local Transport Today (Viewpoint, LTT 704), Professor Richard Allsopp – a key figure in Britain’s “road safety” establishment – made a critique of the “Vision Zero” movement. While we have some issues with the Vision Zero approach, we find it necessary to criticise Professor Allsopp’s article, featuring as it does some key features of “road safety” ideology. Here is our response as printed in Local Transport Today 705:- Continue reading
Hosted by London Borough of Lambeth
Public meeting at 336 Brixton Road on Monday 23rd November
6.15 Tea and biscuits
6.30 Opening statement from Lord Berkeley, President RDRF (Tony now can’t be with us, so his place as chair for the evening will be taken by RDRF founder member/ treasurer Ken Spence)
6.35 LB Lambeth Environment and Sustainability Portfolio holder, Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite.
6.45 RDRF Mayoral candidates Manifesto, Introduction by RDRF Chair Dr Robert Davis
6.50 The Mayoral Candidates Manifesto and responses: EACH ITEM WILL START WITH A 5 – 10 MINUTE TALK BY RDRF COMMITTEE MEMBER OR SUPPORTER, FOLLOWED BY either RESPONSES BY REPRESENTATIVES OF CANDIDATES or READING OUT RESPONSES BY CANDIDATES THAT HAVE BEEN SENT IN. So far we have had 3 responses and have been promised responses by Labour and Conservative candidates.
- Law Enforcement Robert Davis
- Training of MPS personnel: Brenda Puech (Accessibility consultant and RDRF Committee)
- Measuring Danger Properly: Robert Davis
- Even Safer Lorries, Colin McKenzie, (Transport Planner, RDRF Committee)
- Safer Buses: Tom Kearney Tom has been campaigning for greater transparency – and for pedestrianising Oxford St, which is now agreed by all candidates – about TfL bus operations since being seriously injured while walking on Oxford St. footway
- Modal Shift: Caroline Russell, (Cllr at LB Islington, RDRF Committee))
- Post-crash investigation: Amy Aeron-Thomas, RoadPeace the National Road Crash Victims charity.
7.45 – Discussion.
..and don’t forget our Manifesto and replies received so far are here:
Should an advocate of Road Danger Reduction appear on Top Gear? Back in 1993 the programme was reasonably civilised and I was pleased to appear on it. So here is the current Chair of the Road Danger Reduction Forum explaining a basic point about the measurement of danger.
For more on the measurement of danger, see this
We have received responses to our London Mayoral candidates Manifesto from Caroline Pidgeon (Liberal Democrats) and Sian Berry (Green Party). We show them below in the order received: in orange (Caroline Pidgeon) and green (Sian Berry) fonts. UPDATE: November 18th see response from Independent candidate Rosalind Readhead in purple UPDATE March 2016. She has now stepped down from the election
We hope to get responses from the Conservative and Labour candidates soon. UPDATE: April 25th 2016. Despite repeated requests we have not had a response from either of them. Continue reading
ROAD DANGER REDUCTION FORUM: Objectives for the new Mayor of London:
Safer Roads for All
We ask the new Mayor to support our calls for reducing danger at source, for the safety of all road users as part of implementing a sustainable transport system: Continue reading
The following essay is based on a review of “Is it safe in numbers?” by Christie and Pike (in Injury Prevention August 2015 Vol 21 No. 4 276-277 – see the reference to it here ) . It indicates certain attitudes and beliefs about human behaviour amongst “road safety” researchers and professionals – attitudes and beliefs which we think it important to criticise. Continue reading
A construction industry truck currently sold by Scania. Note gap between vehicle body and lack of diver visibility in high cab
Amongst the deluge of unquestioned “road safety” press releases from the “road safety” industry, one recent one grabs our attention. Time for us to question this initiative from truck manufacturers Scania – and one from Volvo – with another bit of recent publicity on the same matter. Continue reading
Churchill in 1911 (Photo: Daily Mail)
“Few accidents arise… from ignorance of how to drive, and a much more frequent cause of disaster is undue proficiency leading to excessive adventure”. Winston Churchill, then Home Secretary, responding to a 1911 TUC delegation demanding the introduction of a driving test.
As we approach the 80th anniversary of the compulsory driving test in the UK, there will be some discussion of how there could be modifications of the current driving test. There will be calls for a ”graduated driving test” and possibly even the argument that drivers should retake “the test”.
I take a different approach. I argue that, however much it has been modified or tweaked, the role of the “test” is actually to boost the sense of entitlement of drivers – encouraging the sense of “undue proficiency” that Churchill perceptively noticed. Whatever benefits it may have are thus diminished, and I doubt whether it has a significant – or indeed perhaps any – overall function as a means of controlling road danger.
Saying this is rather taboo, but I think that this taboo needs to be broken. Let’s see how the compulsory driving test for motorists is in many ways part of the problem of danger on the roads. Below I enclose what I wrote about “the test” in 1992 (fully referenced version here)Page 108 – 111, and then I see whether anything has changed since then. Continue reading