What’s wrong with electric cars? Are they a (small) step forward or a red herring?

Any contemporary discussion about the environmental, health and social problems associated with mass car use will inevitably turn to electric vehicles (EVs). Plainly there may be some advantages to their use compared to that of current petrol or diesel (ICE) cars – but how much? More importantly, does the focus on EVs overall hold the potential for being a major diversion from where our concerns should be, rather than their use being some kind of step forward. Will EVs turn out to be a part of the problem rather than its solution?


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Without tackling car culture we won’t make headway with road danger reduction

(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.

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Lord Berkeley retires as President of RDRF after an astonishing 26 years

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/.

“Who kills whom” and the measurement of danger.

In our Charter we give a commitment to: “Find new measures to define the level of danger on our roads. These would more accurately monitor the use of and threat to benign modes.” This post is part of our work at doing that – hopefully it will contribute to debate. It is based on a document by PACTS given to the Transport Committee Active Travel enquiry in December 2018.

In previous posts and discussions, we have spent a lot of time talking about the need to have measures and targets for benign transport modes expressed with a measure of exposure – e.g. casualty rates per distance, or time, or number of trips travelled. Examples are here  and here . In this post we move on to look at the question of: Who Kills/Hurts/Endangers Whom?

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Government response to its “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) Safety Review”.

Today the Government announced its response to the consultation on its “Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) Safety Review”. You can download it here and I suggest anybody interested in sustainable/healthy travel does so – this is a very important document.
Below I’m giving some first impressions – as I say, you should read the full document yourselves.

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West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team – Setting the Gold Standard for road danger reduction policing

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.

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REVIEWS: “Building the Cycling City” and “Designing for Cycle Traffic”

Here are two different books which are required reading for anybody thinking about creating cities where cycling is a genuinely mass mode of transport: which, when you come to think about it, is anybody with a view of cities which are less dangerous, polluting (whether it be from noxious, greenhouse gas or noise emissions), unsustainable and unhealthy for those living and working in them.

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