Cycling and Walking alliance reacts to DfT proposals to improve road safety

In its initial reaction to Government plans for safety improvements for people walking and cycling, an alliance of the leading walking and cycling organisations indicated its support today (Thurs, 22 Nov) for proposed amendments to the Highway Code. These proposals were made as part of 50 recommendations published by the Department for Transport in response to their Cycling and Walking Safety Review conducted in March.
  • Walking and cycling alliance supports Department for Transport’s proposals to amend Highway Code to better protect people walking, cycling and on horseback
  • Disappointment at lack of emphasis on speed reduction to reduce road danger and its threat
  • Alliance calls on all government departments to get behind and support the benefits of active travel

Made up of the Bicycle Association, Cycling UK, The Ramblers, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans, the organisations welcomed the suggestions which will look into providing priority for cyclists and walkers at junctions, clearer guidance on vehicles overtaking cyclists and also guidance on the “Dutch reach”.

There was disappointment among the group however that the Department for Transport’s plan to improve the safety of vulnerable road users did not place more emphasis on speed reduction.

“Lowering vehicle speeds around people walking, cycling and horse riding doesn’t just reduce the danger to them, but also their perception of the danger,” said Cycling UK CEO Paul Tuohy. “While the DfT’s proposals for amendments to the Highway Code will help save lives, ignoring the threat and dangers of speeding is disappointing.”

The alliance believes increasing road safety and reducing the perception of danger are crucial parts in the promotion of active travel, and says these need support across Government beyond the Department for Transport.

Mr Tuohy said:

“If we want more people cycling and walking in England, and enjoy the consequential health, environmental and economic benefits, it’s clear the Department for Transport needs support from across Whitehall. Other departments – health, justice, local communities and government all need to start mucking in and working with the DfT.

“Every department will share in the benefits of more people cycling and walking, so it’s only right that they should actively support the DfT, financially and administratively, to help to make this happen.”

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“Too often people walking pay the ultimate price on our roads. This is unacceptable and we need opportunities like this to make our roads safer. 

“Looking to improve the Highway Code for walking and cycling, and appointing a cycling and walking champion can help make our streets safer for everyone.  

“Lower speed limits in urban areas, more time to cross at light-controlled crossings, better street maintenance and constraints on pavement parking can all help encourage people to choose these cleaner and healthier ways to travel.”


Notes to editors

The Walking and Cycling Alliance is a coalition of the UK’s leading walking and cycling organisations of the Bicycle Association, Cycling UK, the Ramblers, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans.

The alliance is calling for Government to bring about five changes to make our roads safer for pedestrians and people on bikes:

Safety: revise the Highway Code to improve safety for people walking and cycling, particularly at junctions.

  • Speed: reduce default speed limits to 20 mph for most roads in built-up areas and 40 mph for most minor rural roads;
  • Space: adopt and ensure consistent application of existing ‘best-in-class’ infrastructure design standards;
  • Priority: prohibit pavement parking to create safer and more accessible streets;
  • Culture: provide cycle training for all primary and secondary school children, and embed a culture of walking and cycling throughout the school curriculum

Press contact information

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email