Safe Drivers and Vehicles

Chris Peck's picture

Alcohol and the law - which road users are worst?

Drunken cycling is an offence and a very bad idea. But is it much of a road safety problem? Police enforce some traffic laws, but seldom drunk cycling. CTC examined data for 5 years to see how many fatalities involve alcohol and cycling in this country.
A police officer carries out roadside checks but probably not on cyclists

For some months I've had an irregular correspondence with a Polish cycle campaigner who relates that the police treat drunk cycling under the same laws as they treat drunk driving.

In Poland - as with most of the rest of Europe - the legal blood alcohol limit is far lower than in the UK: you can be fined at over 20 mg/100ml of blood and jailed at 50. In the UK the limit is still 80, despite a recent report recommending reduction to 50.

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Chris Peck's picture

Sorry mate, I didn't see you...recording near misses while cycling

CTC's Stop SMIDSY campaign is gathering examples of where and when crashes occur between road users and will document the reactions of the criminal justice system, ranging from the police to prosecutors and the courts. But there are hundreds of 'near misses' that occur for each actual crash.
Stop SMIDSY

There's one junction that I must use regularly that I find really scary. It's a roundabout above a major trunk road. Motor vehicles come off the trunk road at 70 mph but the design of the roundabout means that they only need to slow down to around 45 mph if they want to enter the roundabout and leave at the first exit.

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Cycle Swap - cab and bus drivers get lessons in cycling in Reading

Inspired by the phrase 'putting the shoe on the other foot', CTC Cycling Devleopment Officer Javed Saddique is planning to deliver cycle training to professional drivers in Reading in an effort to get them to understand how road conditions affect cyclists.

Cycle Swap will start with an awareness exercise involving cab and bus drivers in Reading. Participants will be given cycling awareness skills throughout the morning and in the afternoon they will be provided with helmet cameras to document how they navigate through the varied conditions in Reading.  This exercise will raise awareness and help build a better relationship between road users and cyclists. 

Chris Peck's picture

Who's to blame in crashes between cyclists and motorists?

Columnists in the tabloids - and sometimes the quality press as well - often blame cyclists for crashes with motor vehicles. Figures obtained from the Department for Transport reveal that cyclists - especially adults - generally aren't to blame and, in fact, more often the driver is.
A graph showing who is to blame - cyclist or driver?

At CTC we're constantly being asked to go on TV or radio to be the punch bag for someone's anti-cycling rant.

One of the recurring issues in amongst the you-don't-pay-road-tax type drivel is the suggestion that cyclists are themselves to blame for crashes. Happily, we now have some data which we can use to refute such wild speculation.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Level crossings

When it comes to level crossings, cyclists need to be assured of at least two things: that they will get across safely; that convenient crossing points are kept open or created.
Level crossing

Safety

Incidents at level crossings have a particularly serious impact on the operation of UK railways.

Whilst the number of signals passed at danger, trains derailed and workers injured have all been going down, level crossings - the only place where the closely controlled movements of trains meets the random and less regulated activity of other transport modes – are still the main, high risk locations. Indeed, there has been no effective solution to cutting the 'crash rate’ amongst road users, who have, unfortunately, included cyclists.

Chris Peck's picture

Success! The Government are now measuring perceptions of safety

15 March 2012
Instead of measuring numbers of injuries and deaths to cyclists, CTC believes Government should measure risk to cyclists and the perception of safety. The Department for Transport has now agreed to measure against both indicators. This will give a clearer picture about changes to cycle safety.
Bikes outside parliament

Why is measuring risk rather than numbers of casualties important? Without this subtle change government and local authorities have conflicting incentives: they want to increase cycle use whilst simultaneously reducing overall numbers of casualties.

Why is measuring risk rather than numbers of casualties important? Without this subtle change government and local authorities have conflicting incentives: they want to increase cycle use whilst simultaneously reducing overall numbers of casualties.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Motorcycles in bus lanes

For new and existing cyclists, being able to use bus lanes has a lot to offer. There's less traffic to negotiate and it also feels safer than riding outside the lane, between buses and general traffic.
Two cyclists in a bus lane
Headline Messages: 

For new and existing cyclists, being able to use bus lanes has a lot to offer. There's less traffic to negotiate and it also feels safer than riding outside the lane, between buses and general traffic.

CTC believes that allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes too undermines these benefits, because:

  • It encourages motorcycle riders to go faster – with worrying implications for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.
  • It could well make motorcycling more attractive. As pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to be injured by motorcycles than by cars in general, this is not good news.  
  • They make bus lanes more intimidating, especially for less confident cyclists.

We have therefore consistently objected to any proposals to permit motorcycles into bus lanes.

However, a number of authorities, including Transport for London, have experimented with the idea and subsequently allowed motorcycles to use bus lanes on a permanent basis.

London trials

Well-enforced bus lanes have been a much valued ‘safe haven’ for cyclists in London, doubtless helping to fuel the 150% growth of cycle use on major roads there since 2000.

Transport for London (TfL), however, decided to give motorcycles permanent access to bus lanes on the majority of red routes from 23 January 2012.  This followed two trials which, TfL states, reduced journey times for motorcyclists and resulted in less CO2. TfL also claimed that the trial did not affect the safety of motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users, something that both CTC and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) disputes on the basis of data gathered by TfL itself.

CTC and the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) opposed both the experiments and the final decision.

 

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

Motorbikes should not be allowed in bus lanes, advanced stop lines (ASLs), vehicle-restricted areas or locations where pedal cycles enjoy exemptions from vehicle restrictions. This must necessarily apply to all motorbikes, as larger, faster and more polluting machines make up the majority of the motorbike fleet and it is not practical to provide traffic regulation benefits for the safest and cleanest machines alone.

For more on CTC's views on motorbikes, see our Campaigns Briefing:

Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs)

Publication Date: 
March 2012
Chris Peck's picture

20mph pilot in Bristol finds slower speeds and enthusiastic residents

15 March 2012
A trial of two 20mph speed limit areas in Bristol has resulted in lower speeds, more reported walking and cycling and residents even more enthusiastic about lower speeds than they were at the start of the trial. Injuries, bus journey times and air quality have remained constant.
Cycling has increased even on 20 mph main roads

The two areas in the trial covered around 500 streets from the south and east of Bristol. The project aimed to test whether the success achieved in Portsmouth could be replicated on Bristol streets.

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20 mph: lower speeds, better streets

20 mph
Lower speeds lead to safer streets which are easier for cycling and walking. Reducing the speed limit to 20 mph is one of the simplest ways to reduce road casualties and make streets feel safer.
Chris Peck's picture

Government to go ahead with longer lorries trial despite cyclists' objections

The Department for Transport is pressing ahead with a ten-year trial of longer lorries, despite acknowledging the potential danger to vulnerable road users and the impact on road infrastructure. During its first year, the trial could see 1,800 of the larger vehicles on the roads of the UK.
25m long lorry in Sweden (proposed British ones are shorter than this!)

CTC campaigned against the proposed trial, with more than 1,300 cyclists writing to their MPs to object to the plans. As a consequence the trial is smaller than it might have been, but will still increase the risks to all road users.

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