Measures to combat road rage, encourage more mutual respect between road users and protect the vulnerable have been released in a two-year Government action plan to improve road safety.
Councils will be given powers to tackle dangerous parking in mandatory cycle lanes, and will also be encouraged to spend around 15% of their local transport infrastructure funding on walking and cycling.
As part of the action plan, a bespoke new back office unit will also be set up so that police can analyse video evidence submitted by the public.
This builds on the success of Operation Snap – a successful programme first piloted by North Wales Police in 2016 – and will allow police to handle video and photographic evidence submitted via dash cams.
Cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman said: “Greater road safety— and especially the protection of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – is essential.
“We want to improve air quality, encourage healthy exercise, reduce obesity and boost our high streets and economic productivity.
“That means more support for cycling and walking, and that’s why these new measures are designed to deliver.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) will also appoint a new cycling and walking champion, to ensure new policies meet the needs of road users across the UK, and will host a new 2019 Bikeability Summit encouraging businesses to promote cycling and walking schemes to their employees.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said: “People who choose to cycle or walk should be able to do so in a safe and welcoming environment; active travel is not only great for personal health but public health too.
“With cyclists and pedestrians among the most vulnerable on our roads, safety, and the perceptions of safety, need to be addressed to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and get active.
“We welcome the Government’s action plan, which couldn’t be more timely as people across the country are encouraged to be more BikeSmart for national Road Safety Week.”
The action plan will also assess whether insurance companies could offer discounts to drivers and motorcyclists who have passed Bikeability training.
The DfT will work closely with courier companies to explore incentives for drivers who undergo training in driving safely alongside cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders.
The action plan builds upon the feedback of more than 14,000 people, including organisations such as Brake, Living Streets, Cycling UK and the British Horse Society – who responded to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy Safety Review call for evidence.
Kate Sweeney, partner and head of the personal injury department at the national law firm Stephensons, said: “Britain’s roads can be a hugely intimidating place to be, particularly for vulnerable users such cyclists and pedestrians. It’s encouraging to see the Government taking action to improve road safety and afford greater protection for those most at risk.
"Ultimately these proposals, coupled with the planned introduction of dangerous cycling legislation, would benefit everyone and would go a long way to cutting the rates of death and injury on our roads.”