Cycling safety is a serious issue in this country. Cyclists have to contend with dangerous motorised traffic on almost all British roads.
The biggest risk to their safety comes from lorries, partly due to current design regulations.
These require short, blunt cab fronts, creating dangerous blind spots and increasing the risk of serious accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder has been working with others in the European Parliament to introduce life-saving changes to lorry design.
The Parliament has now agreed new rules that will relax the current length restrictions and allow manufacturers to design safer and more aerodynamic vehicles, with rounded cab fronts, larger windscreens and crumple zones.
This will improve the driver’s ability to see cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, better shock absorbers will reduce injuries on impact.
This will reduce the risk of cyclists and pedestrians being injured or killed if crashes do occur.
Last November the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a £214m investment in cycling which will greatly improve cycling conditions on some of Britain’s busiest roads.
Here in Horsham, the Broadbridge Heath to Oakhill cycle route is nearing completion. This will provide a quieter route for cyclists from Broadbridge Heath, through Horsham town centre and the railway station to Millais and Forest schools. West Sussex County Council was successful in a bid for a Government grant to pay for this.
More needs to be done at every level of Government to make cycling a safer means of transport, in particular to take the needs of cyclists and pedestrians into account wherever and whenever new road schemes are designed.
In the meantime, these new design regulations from the EU are a welcome, if long overdue, step in the right direction.
(LDem) county councillor for Horsham Riverside Division, County Hall, Chichester