CTC, the national cycling charity, has urged the Government to say it will fully implement the recommendations of a Commons Committee report on “Road traffic law enforcement”.
CTC’s Policy Director Roger Geffen MBE, who gave evidence at the inquiry, said: “The Committee’s report is a clarion-call to strengthen roads policing. It seems pretty clear that recent cuts have had a drastic cost on the lives and limbs of child and older cyclists alike."
“Instead of rabble-rousing talk about ‘Ending the war on the motorist’, Ministers must act to stop the slaughter of cyclists and other vulnerable road users, if they want to maximise the health and other benefits of cycling.”
The Commons Transport Committee noted the decline in roads police numbers highlighted by CTC, from 7,104 full-time-equivalent officers (5% of the force) in 2005 to 4,356 in 2014, adding that there are huge regional variations in the extent of these reductions (from a 1per cent cut in Yorkshire and Humberside, to a 45 per cent cut in the South West).
The report echoes CTC’s concerns over the disproportionate increases in serious cycle injuries, recalling that the Committee’s previous report on cycle safety had urged the Government to tackle both actual and perceived safety for cyclists.
The Committee points out that the Government has been measuring the proportion of people who think it is “too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads”, citing figures showing that this indicator may have worsened slightly since 2011 (from 45 per cent to 48 per cent who agreed with this statement).
They note that road safety education “has been found to be most effective when used in concert with enforcement”, adding that “the likelihood of enforcement must be credible in order to successfully back up an education campaign.” This too echoes a point that CTC has been stressing for many years. The Committee calls on the Government to “take measures to support police forces in maintaining the number of specialist police officers.”
The Committee also picked up on CTC’s concerns about the way that “causing death by dangerous driving” prosecutions have been replaced by “causing death by careless driving”, since the latter offence was introduced in 2008. Though this was outside the scope of the inquiry, they have urged the Justice Select Committee to look at this question.
The Committee also echoed CTC’s concerns over the need to tackle lorry safety. They commended the way Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have recently collaborated in setting up the London Freight Enforcement Partnership, to tackle dangerous lorries and lorry operators, urging the Government to take a similar approach elsewhere.