The Network’s Road Safety Lead, Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, and Chair, North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan, have submitted our view on the ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy safety review: proposals for new cycling offences’.
In the response, we say:
‘The NRCN remains concerned that the needs of rural communities are not being properly addressed with regards to road safety – in particular the challenges posed by rural roads.
‘Rural roads pose a number of safety challenges. Most rural roads are of a design and layout that makes altering or upgrading them difficult. Many will be through areas afforded environmental protection with limited alternative engineering options available. Rural roads can be used by practically any vehicle type, unlike the restrictions placed on some vehicles using motorways, and despite lanes being narrower and more winding than A roads. By their very nature and location, country lanes and roads are often subjected to slow moving agricultural vehicles sharing the narrow, winding lanes within an upper 60mph national speed limit with vehicles using the route as a ‘rat run’, alongside horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians.’
We have also put forward some key recommendations:
- Urgently publish its refreshed 2-year road safety statement including an emphasis on protecting rural road users
- Introduce a national road safety performance framework supporting a goal of zero road death backed up with targets to incentivise partnership activity, investment and improvements to rural roads infrastructure
- Review the appropriateness of the blanket 60mph national speed limit
- Aim to bring rural road investment and safety standards into line with those for the Strategic Road Network to encourage improvements in rural road infrastructure by more investment, a more forgiving road design and layout and increased safety standards. This could be through a ‘star rating’ system similar to the International Roads Assessment Programme (iRAP) Safety Rating Model
- Use the NRCN as key stakeholders in developing policy particularly regarding rural road safety.