Call for action on MPs' rural road safety blind spot

Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 11:13
Written by Vicki Mitchem

Committee of MPs fail to address the two-thirds of road deaths that occur on rural roads.

A new road safety report by the House of Commons Transport Committee has failed to recognise that over two-thirds of road deaths now occur on rural roads and, in particular, that the risk of being killed cycling on rural A roads is now 15 times higher than on urban roads.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has responded by calling for a dedicated fund for safe walking and cycling routes along rural main roads.

Ralph Smyth, Senior Transport Campaigner for CPRE, says: "It is shocking that we don't already have a plan or dedicated funding to create safe routes along main roads. We had hoped the committee might have addressed this. Although its focus on cycle safety in urban areas is welcome, this should not come at the cost of action in rural areas."

The Transport Committee report criticises the Government for a lack of leadership and, specifically, proposals for engineering measures but fails to identify the problem of rural roads let alone any action in relation to them.

Following CPRE's high profile campaign to reduce speed limits on minor rural roads, the charity is taking action to ensure the needs of people wishing to walk, cycle or ride along or across the nation's main roads are not forgotten either. The Department for Transport is due to publish the first national roads strategy by the end of 2012 but so far its focus has been on motorists.

Ralph Smyth continues: "Travelling without a car in the English countryside can literally mean taking your life in your hands, since very few of our main roads have safe paths for walking and cycling along. It is time we go beyond the idea that driving should be the only option in the rural areas. We are years behind continental countries - a dedicated fund for new paths is the only way to go."

Source: ©CPRE

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