PLANS TO prioritise cycle training for children across the capital have been welcomed by the RAC.
Under the new Transport for London (TfL) scheme every child will be offered free cycling training as part of a new delivery plan for young people.
RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams says: “TfL deserve applause for this initiative which will help equip young Londoners to be safe and healthy cyclists and to raise awareness of road safety generally.
“The Bikeability training scheme has proved itself as a worthy replacement for the old Cycling Proficiency test and it is fantastic news that every school child in the capital will now be able to benefit from this essential safety training.
“In 2012 a total of 1,045* children were injured as pedestrians and 175 as cyclists in London which equates to 12 per cent of these accidents for all ages. “Sadly, five of these children were fatally injured.”
The RAC has just launched their own child road safety campaign with Horace a new road safety mascot for the 21st century created by Aardman and endorsed by the Department for Transport’s THINK! campaign. (Source: RAC press release)
SOUTHWARK ANNOUNCE £41 MILLION HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME
Southwark Council are set to embark on a £41 million highway maintenance programme over the next ten years.
The funding, which is part of the council’s ten year capital investment programme, will go towards the renewal of 190 kilometres of roads and footpaths across the borough.
A Southwark council spokesperson said: “Under the proposals, the borough’s busiest roads and bus routes, non-principal roads and footpaths will benefit from a programme of resurfacing and repairs to modernise the network.
“The new wave of funding means the council will be able to deal with the backlog of roadworks and improve standards.
“Importantly, the investment allows the council to become more preventative in its approach to highway maintenance which in turn will bring about savings in ad hoc repairs”
The council have also announced plans to invest £2 million in cycling infrastructure, with a particular focus on improvements to the south of the borough.
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, said: “The £41 million investment in highway maintenance shows the council’s commitment to embark upon a preventative, long-term approach to highway maintenance over the next ten years.
“The investment also means that we can fill the funding gap needed to cater to the demand of our busy road network.
“The scheme of work goes beyond just repairing potholes. “Instead it will take a holistic approach to repairs for the benefit of all local drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
“We’ve also recognised that cycling infrastructure needs to be a part of any highways programme, so we can look forward to an improved cycling network to coincide with our work on Quietways and the Connect 2 route.” (Source: Southwark council press release)
MOTORISTS UNHAPPY WITH POTHOLE PERFORMANCE
The government has got a long way to go to convince drivers they have the pothole problem in control as 67 per cent of motorists think that they are doing a bad or a very bad job of maintaining the nation’s roads.
The figures come in research published by road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists.
Almost two thirds (65 pc) of female drivers believe that the government is doing a bad or very bad job, but the figure increases for male drivers 69 pc of whom are unhappy with the current state of the roads.
IAM say there is a clear lack of communication between the motoring public and local councils.
A third of drivers (34 pc) think that their council is cutting spending on road maintenance but 60 pc of drivers don’t know if budgets are being cut, suggesting councils are performing poorly on informing and engaging with local residents.
Over half of drivers (52 pc) think that local councils are doing a bad or very bad job of looking after local roads. 57 pc of males and 49 pc of females believe their council is doing a bad or very bad job.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Despite the government’s pothole review, there is a high level of dissatisfaction with the efforts of authorities to keep our roads safe and smooth drive or ride on.
“The government need to convince motorists that they have a real cure for the pothole pandemic.
“This can only be achieved through clear communication on new policies, more sharing of resources, sustained long-term funding and a continued commitment to eradicating the maintenance backlog of crumbling British roads.”
The IAM offers tips on avoiding the risks associated with potholes:
- Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front so that you can see the road surface before you drive or ride on it.
- If you do hit a pothole accidentally, make a point of checking your tyres once you’ve stopped. Check the inner as well as the outer tyre wall, which may have been damaged as a result.
- – Avoid suddenly pulling out to avoid a hole – you might discover that there is a motorcyclist trying to get past you, or encounter an oncoming vehicle.
- – Bikers and cyclists need to look well ahead and change direction early so they have time to deal with the holes, and so that their movements don’t cause surprise to other road users.
- – Potholes tend to reappear in the same place again and again as previous repairs fail – remember where you saw one and expect it to be there again.
- – Be extra vigilant on roads with lots of lorries and also around bus stops. Extra pressure is put on the road surface wherever heavy vehicles stop, start or turn.
Lake Opinion surveys: 1000 drivers’ opinions of government and council performance on road maintenance.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists has welcomed the Budget announcement that £200 million is to be put towards pothole repairs..
IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “Every little helps and it will be welcomed in many areas hit by this year’s bad weather.
“But with a ten billion pound back log in repairs it is only through consistent long term funding that the pothole problem can finally be fixed.” (Source: IAM press releases)
CALL FOR NEW ‘DRIVING HEALTH CHECKS’ ON OLDER MOTORISTS
The IAM is calling on the government to introduce a national strategy of driving health checks and better information for elderly drivers and their families.
The IAM wants:
- A government action plan for older drivers
- Widespread availability of voluntary on road driving assessments
- More car manufacturers considering older drivers in vehicle design
- Better information and online assessment tools for older drivers, their families and health professionals
- Road designs that make it easier for older drivers to keep driving
The call comes after an IAM and Vision Critical poll showing that 42 per cent of the population are worried about an elderly relative driving, yet they are unlikely to do anything about it.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Voluntary online and on road driving assessments will provide an unbiased view and help everyone make the right decision at the right time.
“We are finding while there are some elderly drivers who should not be on the road, most get it right and as many as 15% per cent give up too early.
“But with ever increasing numbers of elderly drivers, this is a growing mobility and road safety issue that won’t go away. “The government needs to act now.”
There are now more than four million drivers over 70 years old, a figure that is set to increase to 5.8 million in 2032.
The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving, motorcycling and cycling. It is best known for the advanced driving test. (Source: IAM press release)