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Cheaper insurance for drivers who take cyclist awareness test

Joe Robinson
22 Nov 2018

Although alliance of cycling and walking groups criticise proposed government measures

Motorists could be offered the incentive of cheaper insurance if they take a cyclist awareness course, in a wave of new government proposals designed to reduce cyclists and pedestrian deaths.

The Department for Transport is considering the introduction of up to 50 new measures in a bid to make the roads safer for more vulnerable users, although it has faced criticism from an alliance of cycling and walking groups.

One measure could also include giving local councils greater powers to tackle drivers who park in cycle lanes.

Local authorities will also be urged to spend at least 15% of their annual transports infrastructure budget on walking and cycling. In addition, the DfT will employ a national cycling and walking 'champion' to consider whether government policies match the needs of UK road users.

Some areas of the UK, notably Manchester with Chris Boardman's recent infrastructure measures, are already taking steps to improve cycle and walking in urban areas although most areas lag behind.

This would also helpfully begin to repair the existing National Cycle Network (NCN) that recently saw a review deem 42% of its routes as 'poor' and 4% as 'very poor'.

Another big change could be the creation of a police unit that looks into dangerous driving caught on camera by fellow road users. Particularly apt considering this morning's footage of a coach running a red light in Central London.

This new operation would allow police forces to analyse submitted footage in order to pursue prosecutions. North Wales trialled a similar operation in October 2016, leading to 129 cases within a 10-month period.

Included in the measures is also the introduction of the 'Dutch reach' to the Highway Code, a method of opening car doors that forces you to use your opposing hand to open the door, therefore giving you a view of oncoming cycle traffic.

However, an alliance of organisations including British Cycling, Sustrans and Cycling UK have come out in criticism of the measures saying they're 'disappointed' at the lack of focus on speed reduction, as Cycling UK CEO, Paul Tuohy, commented. 

'Last year saw a 5% increase in fatal accidents on UK roads in which 100 cyclists and 470 pedestrians were killed,' said Tuohy.

'Lowering vehicle speeds around people walking, cycling and horse riding doesn't just reduce the danger to them, but also their perception of the danger.

'While the DfT's proposals for amendments to the Highway Code will help save lives, ignoring the threat and dangers of speeding is disappointing.' 

Tuohy also attacked the lack of cooperation across Whitehall urging further government departments such as health to start 'mucking in' if they want to 'enjoy the consequential health, environmental and economic benefits' of more people cycling and walking.

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