Changes to the Highway Code providing higher safety standards

Photo courtesy of Peter O’Connor.

These much overdue changes are to be really welcomed; however, it is unfortunate that they are presented solely as benefits for pedestrians and cyclists.

The changes mean that in their driving habits, drivers will have to make a move towards defensive driving. This will primarily protect drivers from deaths, injuries and vehicle damage, with a consequent reduction in insurance costs.

Even non-drivers have friends and relatives who drive and we should be as concerned about driver safety as well as safety for active travellers.

In many ways, drivers are the primary victims of political apathy towards road safety and they need helping with better opportunities to improve their driving.

It should be a key policy of at-work safety to give people defensive driving and speed awareness courses, as well as advanced driver training.

This is already a major policy in the bus industry and bus travel is as safe as train travel despite the anarchic situation which within which buses are forced to operate.

There needs to be a strong impetus to encourage driver training in work environments. The bus industry is excellent in this respect and so are most lorry and some taxi companies.

However, in the van delivery sector and in taxis there is a need for improvement.

Safer roads are better for everyone and will bring serious financial savings for businesses, local authorities, the NHS and the Exchequer. Safer roads could directly raise our GDP by 1% which is much more significant than it sounds.

It is to be hoped people who care about the safety of active travellers will emphasise that this is a pro car user initiative as well; otherwise it may be presented as anti-car which it is not!

There is scope for campaigners on this issue to lobby WYCA, councils and businesses, as well as MPs.

Ray Wilkes

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