Cycling Policy Paper

Download RoSPA's full Cycling Policy Paper

Cycling Policy Paper

Summary Statement

Cycling in Great Britain is increasing because it is an excellent way to get about and provides a wide range of health and environmental benefits. Unfortunately, it also carries a certain amount of risk, and so we need to ensure that more cycling does not lead to more cycling casualties. The key is to create a safe on and off-road cycling environment, improve driver and cyclist attitudes and behaviour towards each other, and to produce safer vehicles that reduce the risk to cyclists. This RoSPA Policy Paper recommends a comprehensive range of measures to reduce cyclist casualties and help people who want to cycle, but are deterred from doing so because they think it is not safe enough.

Executive Summary

Cycling in Great Britain is increasing (although not uniformly across the country) because it is an excellent way to get about, and provides a wide range of health and environmental benefits. Unfortunately, it also carries a certain amount of risk because the road environment often does not cater for cyclists' needs well enough. The attitudes and behaviour of some drivers and cyclists also increases the risk of cyclist crashes and casualties.

Therefore, we all face a crucial challenge, which is to create safer cycling conditions so that more cycling does not lead to more cycling casualties.

Improving the safety of cycling will reduce the number of cyclist casualties and encourage and enable more people to cycle more often. It will help people who want to cycle, but are deterred from doing so because they think it is not safe enough, and help to prevent the increase in cycling being followed by an increase in cyclist casualties. This, in turn, will increase the health and environmental benefits of cycling for those people who cycle and for society as a whole.

RoSPA strongly supports measures which encourage healthy and sustainable travel. The key to increasing cycling (and so gaining all the health and environmental benefits that result from cycling) is to create a safe on and off-road cycling environment, improve driver and cyclist attitudes and behaviour towards each other, and to produce safer vehicles that reduce the risk to cyclists.

RoSPA advocates the Safe System Approach, which involves designing roads and vehicles to minimise the risk of crashes occurring, and ensures that when they do occur, they are unlikely to result in death or serious injury. 20 mph schemes are a good example of the Safe System approach because lower speeds reduce the risk of crashes occurring and the severity of any that do occur.

Other countries, such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, have much higher cycling levels than the UK, but lower cyclist death rates. This shows that it is possible to increase cycling without increasing cyclist crash and casualty rates.

This policy paper:

  • Examines the health and environmental benefits of cycling
  • Outlines the level and nature of cycling crashes and casualties in Great Britain
  • Explores how roads can be designed to reduce the risk to cyclists, and so help more people to cycle safely
  • Explores how driver and cyclist attitudes and behaviour can be improved to reduce the risk to cyclists, and so help more people to cycle safely
  • Explores how the risk of HGV and cyclist collisions can be reduced
  • Examines the evidence of the relationship between traffic volume and cyclist casualties
  • Makes recommendations for creating a safer cycling environment that will help to reduce the number of cyclist casualties, prevent the increase in cycling resulting in an increase in cyclist casualties, and help people who want to cycle, but are deterred from doing so because they think it is not safe enough.

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