The UK government’s just-published draft Road Safety Strategy has endorsed demands from the CTC, the UK's national cyclists organisation, to halve the risks of cycling by 2020 compared to the figures for 2004-2008.
Most importantly the government agrees with the CTC's view that risk should be based on cycling injuries per mile rather than simply looking at the overall total injuries. Crucially this means comparisons from year to year will be much more meaningful.
CTC Campaigns and Policy Manager Roger Geffen summed up how important he felt the move was: “There is good evidence that cycling gets safer the more cycling there is. We’re therefore delighted that the government has decided to adopt our approach and set targets for increased safety for cyclists, which measure injuries per mile cycled, not just in the numbers of injuries to cyclists. One of the best ways to achieve this (the government target) is to double the levels of cycling."
CTC gave a more measured welcome to the government’s call to increase the number of streets with 20 mph speed limits, but felt it would be best for cyclists if such 20 mph speed limits became the default for most urban streets. Road safety research has shown only one in 40 people who are hit by a vehicle at 20mph dies, compared with one in five at 30mph.
Other proposals in the draft strategy - which aims to cut road deaths by a third by 2020 - are cutting the speed limit on the most dangerous country lanes from 60mph to 50mph, and reforms to the driving test, including a specialist vocational qualification for van drivers.
BikeRadar has previously reported on how some local councils have successfully introduced wide-ranging 20mph limits.