New survey finds cyclists feel less safe than pedestrians near major roads

A detailed research by independent road user watchdog Transport Focus has, for the first time, measured the real impact of inadequate signage, unsuitable design and poor maintenance on the experience of cyclists and pedestrians. Specifically, when they travel along, beside or have to cross major ‘A’ roads and motorways maintained by Highways England.

Key findings included:

  • Cyclists are significantly less likely than pedestrians to feel safe on the part of their journey that interacts with the Highways England network – due to the proximity and speed of the traffic that is nearby.
  • For pedestrians, personal security along these routes is a particular concern – this group will notice when a location is secluded.
  • Overall, more than three-quarters of cyclists and pedestrians in each of the areas covered by this research are satisfied with that part of their journey made on, alongside, or across the Highways England network of motorways and major ‘A’ roads.

Launching the research, Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“Cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians deserve to feel safe on their journeys, so it should be no surprise there is a clear relationship between how safe these road users feel and how satisfied they are with travelling along, over or beside major roads and motorways.

“We have developed a clear measure of satisfaction among cyclists and pedestrians (alongside qualitative information about issues that affect them and equestrians).

“We are using the results of this research to press Highways England to upgrade roads to better meet the needs of these users. This should include more distance between them and fast-moving traffic as well as ensuring paths and crossing points have better surfaces and lighting.”

Transport Focus also hopes the evidence from this research in two regions will influence the way improvements are delivered in other areas of the Highways England network.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Earlier this week, the Department for Transport revealed the Highway Code was to get a ‘Dutch Reach’ amendment in an attempt to boost safety for cyclists.