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“Road safety is not all helmets and hi vis” Boardman tells road safety officers conference

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Published: 14 November 2013
Report: British Cycling

Ensuring that cyclists are safe on Britain’s roads is much more about the environment than the traditional focus of prioritising helmets and hi vis, British Cycling’s Policy Adviser, Chris Boardman, told a national road safety officers conference in Harrogate today.

"Road safety is not all about helmets and hi-vis. The focus for road safety officers should be on interventions that reduce the risks at source"

British Cycling Policy Adviser Chris Boardman

The conference, organised by road safety body Road Safety GB, hosted representatives from across Britain, including local government road safety teams.

Speaking at the conference, British Cycling’s Chris Boardman said:

“Road safety is not all about helmets and hi-vis. The focus for road safety officers should be on interventions that reduce the risks at source, and in a way that does not discourage cycling by making it seem an unsafe activity.

“Instead of campaigns that put the responsibility to stay safe solely on the cyclist, road safety officers should be talking to their colleagues in planning and road design. If an existing road layout is completely illogical and hazardous, the priority should be sorting that out first rather than simply asking cyclists to put helmets or reflective gear on. We’re working with the government to make sure that plans to design all new roads and junctions with cycling in mind – called ‘cycle-proofing’ – are put into action without delay.”

Boardman also told the conference that British Cycling believes that there should be national road safety targets based on risk exposure rather than accident numbers. Boardman explained that it would be a more accurate way of measuring risk and would allow for fluctuations in the number of trips taken by bike.

Road safety officers are usually employed by local authorities and are responsible for reducing the number and severity of road accidents by raising awareness of safer user behaviours. British Cycling has said that there should be more cross-working within local authorities on cycling issues as they have impact most areas of a local authorities’ remit – including health, transport, planning and education.

Chris Boardman represented British Cycling at the conference’s ‘Question Time’ session. He shared the stage with representatives from the AA, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Department for Transport.

Melanie Hudson, British Cycling’s Recreation and Partnerships Manager for the north, also spoke at the event to discuss the opportunity presented by the Tour de France coming to Britain next year.