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How the Government’s ‘Plan for Drivers’ impacts the safety of pedestrians and cyclists

Published in October, The Department for Transport (DfT)’s  ‘Plan for Drivers’ outlines how the Government proposes to “improve the experience of driving and services provided for motorists.” 

But in creating a plan to improve the experience of motorists, is the Government risking the safety of pedestrians and cyclists? In this article, we explore some of the key points addressed in the DfT’s long-term plan and highlight the potential impact on the cycling community.  

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods 

Under the section ‘Stopping Unfair Enforcement’ the Government states that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) will be reviewed, focusing on local guidance.  

The term Low Traffic Neighbourhood refers to a residential area where traffic-reduction measures have been put in place, with the aim of increasing walking or cycling. LTNs are often seen as a safe haven for pedestrians and cyclists alike, allowing cyclists to travel in relative safety. 

In this same section, the Government outlines how they plan to “update 20mph zone guidance for England to help prevent inappropriate blanket use.” 

15-minute Cities 

Another measure outlined in the plan is to “Stop local authorities using so-called 15-minute cities’ to police people’s lives.”  

The idea of a 15-minute city is that residents can access everything they need (work, healthcare, shopping etc) within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. 

The Government has said they will hold a consultation on the removal of local authorities’ access to DVLA data which enables them to enforce such schemes by camera. 

“A plan for rising emissions, road danger and more” 

Many have spoken out against the Department for Transport’s plan, including cycling charity, Cycling UK. They commented: “It’s true that too many people are forced into being reliant on their cars, but the answer is not to make driving easier – instead government should be reducing this reliance by providing greater choice in how we get about and creating better transport options.” 

Similarly, London Cycling Campaign have campaigned for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, noting that LTNs mean “less noise, air pollution and less road danger.” Commenting on the Government’s ‘Plan for Drivers’, LCC label it “a plan for rising emissions, road danger and more.” 

Consultant Cycling Accident Solicitor, Paul Darlington commented:  

“The Plan for Drivers is a very confused document, addressing taxation/financial, congestion, infrastructure, safety and (limited) environmental issues.  Simply because a majority demographic does something is not conclusive evidence that it’s right or sensible. 

“The PfD ignores many incontrovertible facts, the most obvious being that continued car growth is wholly unsustainable because the space simply isn’t there; witness PfD’s proposed changes to exclusive use of bus lanes and the discredited (now abandoned) encroachment onto hard shoulders of the motorways: both evidence the unsustainable pressures which numbers of vehicles exert. The fact is that if a society does not recognize and adapt to change, the future is bleak.” 

Vulnerable Road Users 

While some of the measures discussed in the Plan for Drivers may be welcome news for cyclists, including the development of a New Road Condition Data Standard to help local authorities handle road defects such as potholes more efficiently, overall, it appears that the Plan for Drivers does not acknowledge the difficulties and dangers that cyclists can face.  

Cyclists are undoubtedly some of the most vulnerable road users and reported bicycle accident injuries remain high. According to statistics from the Department for Transport, in 2021, 111 pedal cyclists were killed in Great Britain, with 4,353 seriously injured and 11,994 receiving minor injuries. 

In his foreword, Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport says the Plan for Drivers will address “anti-driver traffic management measures”, but in doing so, it potentially jeopardises some of the measures that can help make cycling easier, and more importantly, safer.  

If you’ve been involved in a cycling accident, start your cycling injury claim today by calling 0808 1000 9995, or start your cycle claim online.  

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Cycle SOS
Cycle SOS only deal with cycle accident claims. We understand cyclists, and believe that cyclists have the right to be safe on the roads. Cycle SOS The Cyclists National Helpline is made up of a highly trained team of specialist personal injury cycling lawyers that have recovered millions of pounds for people making bicycle accident claims.