Monday 31 January 2011

Road Danger Reduction isn't enough

The latest Lambeth Life has popped through my letterbox with a piece about the draft Lambeth Transport Plan saying "The overall goal is to adopt a new approach to transport called Road Danger Reduction"

The reality is that people choose to walk and cycle on our streets when they feel safe and comfortable, regardless of how dangerous the streets actually are.

Lambeth's approach must focus on 'Road Fear Reduction'.

A little bit of this is about providing training to road users in the fundamentals of road etiquette (which may not be the ones that first come to mind in our motor-centric country).

But the bulk of Road Fear Reduction is about ensuring that, whether intentionally or inadvertently, motor vehicle users don't deter those wishing to travel in an active manner. More than that, because active travel is the beneficial form to the health and wellbeing of both people and the planet, those planning the conditions in which motor vehicles can be used need to adopt an approach which positively encourages people to walk and cycle.

In other words we must ensure the conditions for walking and cycling make these choices feel absolutely delightful, as well as not actually being dangerous.

The same of course applies in terms of the relationship between cyclists and pedestrians as the recent issue on the Thames Path demonstrates.

And, to be clear, I'm not suggesting for a moment that motorised transport isn't useful, just that it musn't denigrate the experience for non-motorised users of that space.