The Association of Consumer Support Organisation's (ACSO) letter to the Department for Transport (DfT) advocates for more action to be taken to protect vulnerable road users who are more present on our roads than ever.
As has already been widely reported, the pandemic has catalysed significant transport shifts with 2020 seeing a 46 per cent annual increase in the number of cyclists as well as the greatest percentage decrease in their casualty rates compared to all other road users. Yet, this shift combined with the speed in which personal car use is recovering poses a very real and immediate danger to vulnerable road users in the UK.
To ensure the safety of vulnerable road users, ACSO has called for heightened attention, better infrastructure and more investment. This would be a welcome change from the DfT's 2020 Road Safety Statement which contained minimal reference to vulnerable road users.
It is very much hoped that 2021's Road Safety Statement will better outline the ways in which vulnerable road users will be made safer on the roads. In ACSO's view, this includes improved crash investigation, effective road policing, penalties and sentencing that might be regarded as commensurate with the offences.
Basic road safety should not be considered an anomaly. It is imperative that more is done to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable. Indeed, with the increase in cycling, the continuing public health and climate campaigns urging healthier forms of transport and a return to overall levels of road traffic since the height of the pandemic, we would urge the DfT to use this year's Road Safety Statement to place much more of an emphasis on vulnerable road users.