road safety

Chris Peck's picture

Families of both those killed by Joao Lopes demand his licence be removed permanently

1 August 2012
The families of Eilidh Cairns and Nora Gutmann, both killed by the same HGV driver - 56-year-old Joao Lopes - have demanded that his licence be permanently removed. Lopes pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to 4 years in jail but just a 6 year driving ban.
Lorries are required to have some extra mirrors fitted, but not enough

In February 2009 Eilidh Cairns, a 30-year-old TV producer, was killed while cycling to work. She was run over by an HGV, driven by Joao Lopes.

The police found no connection between Eilidh's death and the actions of the driver.  Lopes pleaded guilty to the minor charge of driving with uncorrected defective vision. He was fined £200 pounds, given three points on his licence and permitted to carry on driving a tipper lorry.

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Chris Peck's picture

Killer HGV driver pleads guilty to causing death by dangerous driving

Lorry driver Joao Lopes hit and killed Eilidh Cairns in 2009 but was only ever fined for poor eyesight. Last year he ran over and killed 97-year-old Nora Gutmann in 2011. He has now pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and tachograph offences.
Lorries are disproportionately involved in pedestrian and cyclists' deaths

Kate Cairns, who fought for a proper investigation into her sister's death to stop other fatalities happening in the same way - and who went on to campaign for better lorry safety in Europe -  said: 

"For three years I have battled the whole way through an inadequate system which assumes the guilt of the cyclist, and which is rife with incompetence and complacency and which has failed us all on so many levels.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle helmets: An overview of the evidence

What is the evidence for opposing moves to make cycle helmets compulsory in law? And why aren't promotional campaigns a good idea either?
Cyclist

This briefing sets out the case, backed by evidence.

See also our policy briefing on cycle helmets, which explains CTC's views.

BBC Surrey - 20 April 2012

The number of cyclists seriously injured on Surrey's roads has double over the past three years. To find out more listen to CTC's Chris Peck and Julie Rand discussing the statistics on BBC Radio Surrey's Breakfast Show.

The number of cyclists seriously injured on Surrey's roads has double over the past three years. While the rate of fatalities has remained low, the total number of cycling casualties, both minor  and serious, totaled 528 in the past year.  

CTC Policy Coordinator Chris Peck and CTC's Julie Rand talk about the increase in cycling casualties in Surrey. Julie Rand is on at 7.10am (scroll to 1.10) and Chris Peck is on at 8.10am (scroll to 2.10).

- 20 April 2012

CTC Policy Coordinator Chris Peck on BBC Berkshire talking about an increase in cycling KSIs (Killed and Serous Injuries) in the Royal County.
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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Cherry Allan's picture

Home Zones

Children play, or want to play, in streets; and people work and live in them too. Creating Home Zones is a good way to reclaim roads as community space, rather than just a means of getting from A to B in a motor vehicle.
Chester Home Zone
Headline Messages: 
  • While roads have a transport function, it is important to remember that they also intersect local communities. In other words, they are places where people live and work and where children play too. Home zones help communities reclaim their streets from motor traffic and stop them from becoming rat-runs.
  • This is done mainly by reducing the dominance and speed of cars and other vehicles by a variety of features (e.g. speed limits, traditional traffic calming, or planters, seats, trees etc). Typically, these streets do not carry large volumes of traffic, are short in length and the changes are supported by the local community.
  • Although home zones can promote road safety, the main benefit is that people start looking at streets differently. It becomes clear that the space is not exclusively for vehicle use, but can cater for a much wider range of community activities - playing, chatting, gardening etc.
  • The  Government's planning policy for England (National Planning Policy Framework, March 2012), says that developments should (amongst other things) be located and designed to "create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between traffic and cyclists or pedestrians, avoiding street clutter and where appropriate establishing home zones".
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on infrastructure and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook.

  • Local authorities should use their powers under the terms of section 268 of the Transport Act 2000, or section 74 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2001, to designate home zones where the community requests it.
  • When designing home zones, authorities and planners must consider the needs of cyclists, avoiding where possible design which creates pinch points or chicanes (see also our page on traffic calming).
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Traffic calming

The speed of motor traffic not only aggravates local communities, but also puts people off cycling. There are a number of measures that encourage and enforce slower driving, including physical traffic calming (e.g. speed humps).
Headline Messages: 
  • The aim of traffic calming is to slow down the average speed of motor vehicles. In doing so, it reduces the speed differential between them and other road users and helps make road conditions safer and more attractive for cycling.
  • Traffic calming measures include physical alterations to the horizontal and vertical alignment of the road, e.g. speed humps and road narrowings such as chicanes.
  • If done badly, though, traffic calming can push cyclists and motorists riskily together through pinch points (e.g. at built-out sections of kerb), or force cyclists to veer or struggle (e.g. round or over a speed hump that’s been put in an awkward place or doesn’t have enough clearance from the kerb). Good traffic calming should help people follow the guidance given by national standards cycle training, not do the opposite - riding in the gutter, for example.
  • Traffic calming can be used as part of a package of other speed reducing measures, including 20 mph limits. Nowadays, however, local authorities have been given much more flexibility over introducing these limits without paying for costly physical infrastructure to enforce them.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

We are currently revising and updating our views on traffic calming and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook (March 2004).

  • Traffic calming can benefit cyclists by reducing the speed of traffic, provided it is of a cycle-friendly design. Vertical deflection can be very effective at slowing traffic but the ramps must have long, smooth profiles, approximating to a sinusoidal shape.
  • Wherever possible the introduction of pinch points that squeeze cyclists, e.g.: by providing central refuges, should be avoided. At 30 mph the minimum width beside a refuge that allows safe overtaking without intimidation is 4.5m. Only below 20 mph should narrower widths be considered.
  • Pinch points should not be introduced without consultation with local cyclists. Where such a measure is unavoidable, the Transport Research Laboratory has identified optimum widths for pinch points.
  • A very effective way to calm traffic in a benign manner is to have reduced priority at all junctions, such as the use of all-way give-ways in other countries.
  • There is a range of subtle but effective 'natural' or 'traditional' methods of traffic calming which can also be employed, such as are implemented in Home Zone schemes.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

Junctions and crossings

As 75% of cyclists' collisions happen at or near junctions, it's essential to do everything possible to make them safe for cycling.
Headline Messages: 

Three-quarters of cyclists' collisions happen at or near junctions, so providing cycle lanes or paths that stop short of one (or at it), doesn't help tackle one of the most serious hazards that cyclists face on the road network.

Apart from training people how to negotiate junctions safely and confidently, there are several things that road engineers can do to make these locations more cycle-friendly in the first place.

Signalled junctions, for instance, are usually better than roundabouts, while well planned, designed and implemented Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs), special cycle phases and detectors can be particularly helpful.

If there’s no avoiding a roundabout, it can be improved for cyclists by narrowing the circulatory carriageway, minimising the number of entry and exit lanes, and slowing drivers down by making the entry and exit angles tighter.

Shared-use pedestrian and cycle crossings

Cyclists tend to prefer direct routes – and safe ones, of course. Consequently, they often want to cross a road, but not necessarily at a road traffic junction (although once they’ve used the crossing, they may need to rejoin the carriageway).

Toucans (light controlled crossings shared with pedestrians) usually provide a very workable arrangement; and for very busy roads, high quality subways or bridges are not only often welcome to cyclists, but can also help connect communities severed by an otherwise impassable road. 

Cycle path crossings of side roads

Cycle paths alongside the carriageway are often intersected by side roads or driveways. Cyclists are rarely given priority over them and these locations can put them at risk. There are engineering measures that can help make drivers more aware of cyclists at these points (e.g.raised tables over the crossing).

 

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

We are currently revising and updating our views on infrastructure and these will be published in due course. In the meantime, these are extracts from CTC's current Policy Handbook.

  • Features such as advanced stop lines (ASLs), priority approaches and special cycle phases should be incorporated at junctions.
  • Signalled junctions are often preferable to roundabouts. However mini-roundabouts may be used as a speed control measure in traffic calming schemes and this may benefit cyclists.
  • Increasing the entry deflection, narrowing the circulatory carriageway and providing circulatory lane markings can improve safety on roundabouts.
  • Loop-detectors controlling traffic signals should be tuned to detect cyclists.
  • All new schemes should be audited for cycle friendliness and as much of the existing transport network should be reviewed likewise.
  • Subways and overbridges should be of high quality with good sightlines, sensible gradients, lighting and sufficient width. Converted footways are generally disliked by pedestrians and cyclists and should be avoided by transport planners. Low cost schemes to convert existing subways into shared use facilities are rarely satisfactory. Overbridges should be cycle friendly and not have steps.
  • Toucan crossings are shared light controlled crossings. They allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross roads in safety, and are a good example of workable and cost effective facilities.
Publication Date: 
April 2012
Cherry Allan's picture

The 'Hierarchy of Provision'

What is the best way to provide for cyclists on the highway network? Sharing space with motor traffic? Or segregated as much as possible from it? And what about all the options between these extremes?
Cycle road marking

Many people who don’t cycle say they’re held back by their fear of traffic, and reckon they’d cycle if there were more cycle paths away from the roads.  Local demands for 'traffic-free' routes can be quite persuasive for councils, but when they install segregated tracks they often meet with opposition from cyclists who would prefer to cycle on the road rather than lose priority at every side-road on a poorly designed segregated cycle track - particularly if they are fast, confident commuters.

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