EU agrees changes to RISM Directive to make road infrastructure safer for cyclists

ECF has announced that key EU institutions have agreed on a revised version of the Directive 2008/96/EC on Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM), recognising the need to pay more attention to the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

The changes made to the Directive are the result of a compromise between the proposals of the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism. The political deal will still, however, have to be officially endorsed by both the European Parliament and Member States.

Changes to the RISM include:

  • Member States shall take the needs of cyclists (as well as pedestrians and motorcyclists) into account in the implementation of all safety procedures defined in the Directive.
  • The European Commission shall provide guidance on quality requirements regarding vulnerable road users. Those guidelines shall be developed in close cooperation with Member State experts. The ECF considers this a key element to make sure EU funding is not spent on infrastructure projects that are unsafe for cyclists or that create new barriers for cycling.
  • Member States shall ensure that the training curricula for road safety auditors includes aspects related to cyclists and cycling infrastructure.
  • Cycling traffic and cycling infrastructure are on the indicative list of data to be collected in the new procedure of network-wide road assessment. This should form a solid basis for more evidence-based policies.

Adam Bodor, Advocacy Director of the ECF, said: “Until now, the EU has focused on the safety of main roads from the perspective of motorised vehicles. We are pleased to see a fundamental shift take place towards all road users. From now on, the needs of cyclists and pedestrians should also be taken into account in design and maintenance of European road infrastructure.”

The scope of the Directive will be extended to include motorways, primary roads and non-urban roads that receive EU funding. According to research from the EU Commission the proposed measures could save as many as 3,200 lives and prevent more than 20,000 serious injuries between 2020 and 2030.

At the tail-end of last year, Transport Ministers responded to the RISM Directive questioning the Directive’s definition of “how” or “what” makes decent cycling or pedestrian infrastructure, and that the parameters to gauge this must be taken in to account.

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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