Many transport professionals have made contributions to the Transport Select Committee's Follow-On Inquiry into Cycling Safety (visit: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/cycling-safety ).
As its call for written submissions closes today, it is timely to consider how we can contribute to improving cycling safety. One answer is to redouble our efforts to design and build a safer environment for all road users, but especially to reduce the danger being experienced by vulnerable road users - pedestrians and pedal cyclists.
In a promising development, TRL is using its test-track facilities in deepest Crowthorne, Berkshire, to experiment with new highways infrastructure, following a commission from Transport for London. In November 2013, TRL hosted the CILT UK Cycling Forum at a packed event. There we saw new designs and layouts being tested, including:
• ‘Dutch-Style’ roundabout with tight geometry and a separate cycle track that has priority at each arm, enabling the cyclist to make any manoeuvre without stopping.
• Cycle-specific low-level signals at ‘eye height’ for cyclists.
• Early start signals for cyclists to give them a head start in traffic (using a variety of signalling equipment).
• Extended advanced stop lines (5.0m, 7.5m and 10.0m depth using feeder lanes, no feeder lane and coloured / non-coloured surfaces).
• Floating bus stop - a bus stop bypass where a cycle track passes to the rear of a bus stop, testing the best arrangement for pedestrians to cross the cycle track.
• Different forms of cycle lane separation from traffic lanes (white lines, kerbs, upright collapsible wands and ‘armadillos’) to see what users prefer and how their behaviour alters in reaction to the different types of infrastructure.
With so much going on, it is no surprise to learn that many transport professionals are finding it hard to remain up-to-date. In the past, there has been a systematic approach taken to this, often covered by the somewhat stodgy title of Continuous Professional Development (CPD). But late last year, it emerged that one of the country's largest public sector passenger transport bodies has cut its training budget from £100,000 to £20,000 p.a. Cutting back on training is no way to develop the skills necessary for the modern highways environment, and is sure to stifle innovation, as staff under pressure due to budget reductions and lower headcounts revert to doing the same as they did last time.
This is where PTRC comes in to its own with its excellent short courses on ‘Cycling Infrastructure’ and ‘Cycling for Transport’.
Chairman, Cycling Forum, CILT UK & transport consultant