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LGA - Councils – Hand us powers to improve cycling safety
Cycling safety could be improved if councils were given powers to target drivers putting cyclists at risk by breaking moving traffic laws, MPs were told recently.
The Local Government Association (LGA) is calling on the Government to implement Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to allow councils to protect cyclists by enforcing cycle lanes and cracking down on illegal U-turns and box junction offences.
Transport for London (TfL) has been using similar powers for years – with research showing a 50 per cent drop in offences – but police outside the capital admit to not having the resources to enforce them.
Councils would use the power to improve safety by targeting notoriously congested junctions or stretches of road. This would be publicised and clearly sign-posted with warning letters initially issued to raise awareness while persistent offenders would end up with a fine.
Most offences could be enforced by existing CCTV cameras but traffic officers could also issue fixed penalty notices.
It is a proposal backed by cycling groups and key cities – including Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle and Nottingham – while the Welsh Government has already acted to hand councils across the border Part 6 powers.
Ahead of giving evidence to the Committee's inquiry into cycling safety today (February 10), Cllr Mike Haines, of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, said:
"Cycling makes people healthier, is environmentally friendly and helps ease traffic congestion, all things increasingly important in modern towns and cities. Councils also see encouraging cycling as an important part of helping them achieve their key aims of improving public health, better traffic management and reducing pollution.
"Very little is currently being done to stop the minority of inconsiderate and dangerous drivers who block cycle lanes and bus lanes, pull up in cycle boxes at traffic lights and clog box junctions. Not only do these needless infringements cause frustration to responsible motorists, they can also put cyclists at risk by forcing them into busy traffic.
"If the Government is serious about championing cyclists, then it must hand councils outside London greater powers to tackle moving traffic violations. Granting councils the power to tackle impatient drivers who break the law and put cyclists at risk in an effort to shave seconds off their journey would undoubtedly also help ease congestion, reduce pollution and make roads safer for everyone."
Notes to editors
1. As with other traffic offences, fines associated with Part 6 are set centrally by Department for Transport. Motorists have the opportunity to pay them in 14 days and have the fine halved, or appeal. In London, the majority of moving traffic offences are £130/£65. They would likely be less outside London, as per other fines.
Greg Burns, Senior Media Relations Officer
Local Government Association
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