Cycling is not a risky or a dangerous activity, it is an activity that anyone can participate in and that everyone has access to.
However the most vulnerable members of society – children, elderly, people with disabilities – have been the victims of a transport system that has focused for too long on the automobile. The current reality is that many people do not cycle due to perceived safety concerns. These fears need to be tackled now as do the genuine risks that cyclists face.
Please see our Road Safety Charter here ECF_Road_safety_charter
Safety in numbers -
- The Netherlands has witnessed a 45% increase in cycling and a 58% decrease in fatalities between 1980 – 2005
- London saw a 91% increase in cycling since 2000 and a 33% fall in cycling casualties between 1994 and 1998
Q. Which are the two safest countries in Europe to cycle in?
A. Denmark and the Netherlands
Q. Which two countries have the highest modal share of cycling?
A. Denmark and the Netherlands
ECF firmly believes in the ‘Safety in Numbers’ Principle; the more people cycling, leads to safer conditions amongst cyclist. For an ECF report please go here ECF Factsheet Safety in Numbers
What we need is a new culture of city and transport planning that fully respects everyone’s basic right to safe mobility. In this respect, governments at all levels should embrace the Safety in Numbers principle, recognising that cycling gets safer as more people cycle. Promotion of the bicycle and use of the bicycle is an action that in itself improves safety.
Road Safety Action Plan
What is the EU doing?
In July of 2010 the European Commission released their Communication “Towards a European road safety area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020”.
The Communication accepts that “For many potential cyclists, real or perceived road safety risks remain a decisive obstacle. National and local governments are increasingly involved in promoting cycling and walking, which will require that more and more attention is paid to road safety issues.”
Actions recommended include;
“Increasing the safety of cycling and other vulnerable road users, e.g. by encouraging the establishment of adequate infrastructures”
What is ECF doing?
ECF found the Communication’s position rather weak and we subsequently presented them with our views.
We also supported the European Parliament’s response to the Commission, under the supervision of MEP Dieter-Lebrecht Koch which, we think that he has strengthened the EU commitment to cycling safety, and road safety in general.
The EU Parliament report speaks of;
- promoting 30km/h zones throughout urban areas in Europe;
- a target of halving the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in road accidents by 2020;
- the preparation and adoption of national targets and road safety action plans to become mandatory
- better protection for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists
- a consistent harmonisation of traffic signs and rules
This report is now the official position of the European Parliament and the ECF will follow with interest how the Commission will interpret this and their plans for the next ten years of road safety in Europe.