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Meeting with Baroness Vere

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Monday the 23rd May – 4.30pm – 5.30pm

Introduction from Selaine Saxby MP

We are delighted to welcome Baroness Vere to our meeting today, alongside the APPG for Transport Safety.

Baroness Vere is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT, and her responsibilities include road safety.

We look forward to hearing from the Minister on issues including the Road Safety Strategic Framework, response to the Roads Policing Review, the Road Collision Investigation Branch, 2021 Road Casualty Data, new vehicle safety regulations, Queen’s Speech updates and feedback following the changes to the Highway Code.

We know that concerns around safety can often be a barrier to people taking up cycling and walking, so this is a very important meeting.

Some questions have been provided in advance, but please do feel free to put questions in the Q+A (not the chat) as well.

Introduction from Ruth Cadbury on the Transport Safety APPG

The group was re-formed a year ago and we have Members from 5 different political parties. We are particularly looking to hear about the Road Safety Strategic Framework and also the latest road casualty data, but we are concerned that injuries and fatalities might be rising again. We are pleased to be collaborating with the APPG for Cycling & Walking.

Baroness Vere

Road safety statement was good as far as it went, but we need a more strategic vision for how we take road safety forward – and the governance of how it is managed.
This is an opportunity, there are many things that are in the mix where decisions have not been taken finally.
Highway Code – hierarchy has come in, not everyone was a fan.
Continuing to communicate that and evaluate how they are doing. Need to make sure that people are constantly reminded that you have more responsibility if you cause more harm.
Need to break down the divide that exists between drivers and cyclists.
People felt that they could not get from A to B on a country lane because of cyclists, but it is their road too.
Of course, have the self-driving vehicles change coming through – really important that we have a good public debate about that.
Road Safety Strategic Framework, said they would do that in Gear Change which launched last summer.
The process is really important, need to set up the process for each element of safe systems approach.
New framework will hopefully incorporate the RCIB, and looking at consultation responses.
Something else that is in train, is the roads policing review. Roads policing is hugely complicated because the Home Office is responsible for the policing side, but then you have PCCs etc.
Making sure everyone understands their responsibilities, and having conversations about data. Do we use it as well as we can? Lots of work going on with the compliant vehicle directive.
Making sure that we encourage the police to see road policing as a significant intervention that they should be doing.
Work on smart motorways, they do an awful lot more than in others.
Something else that should be in the Transport Bill is e-scooters etc. Falls between the regulation of e-cycles and others and we need to make the right decisions for micromobility.
We are at a good opportunity to feed in and out.

Ruth Cadbury – No time scale on pavement parking?

Baroness Vere – We are nearly there in terms of analysing the responses, but can’t commit to policy right now. Pavement Parking should come soon, and Road Traffic Offences – failing to stop etc. There are some tragic incidents that happen, just have to make sure that the law that you make fix the problem.

Fleur Anderson – Really pleased to hear about RCIB. E-scooters, lots of people contacting Fleur about that. Main things they were talking about are speed and sound. Can they be tracked to tell if they have been on a pavement or not?

Hammersmith Bridge – causing lots of road safety issues due to the extra traffic.

Baroness Vere – Probably not something that is going to happen quickly but working on it. On the RCIB don’t have it for roads. Tempted to make it do everything but of course it can’t do that.

Will be a limit on e-scooters speed.

80% of fatal HGV cycle collisions could be prevented with lifeguards, could this be required for off road construction trucks?

Baroness Vere – Have looked at this and do not believe it would be easy to fit them on those vehicles. Because then they would be limited on what roads they could use, but happy to take it away.

How do we enforce the Dutch reach in the Highway Code – It’s a should not a must but the Highway Code is getting you to think. Not going to mandate door handles going in certain places.

Ruth Cadbury – Could you have sensors on cars for when cyclists come close.

After two near identical fatal crashes on Trams, only Edinburgh has taken action on cyclists falling on tram tracks, can this info be disseminated.

Baroness Vere – Yes, very clear on what the angle of tram tracks should be. Active Travel England will be responsible for this. Will ask them to look into that.

Ruth Cadbury – Are you looking at minimum standards for batteries for e-bikes and e-scooters.

Baroness Vere – This is something that comes under BEIS due to standards. But it is an issue that they are very aware of.

Pedicabs

Baroness Vere – Will be London specific.

When will the Government’s review of road traffic penalties and offences take place?

Baroness Vere – Within the next 6 weeks.

Any data to audit which police forces have started close pass projects

Baroness Vere – Not as far as she knows, but that would be a Home Office question.

Ruth Cadbury – Could DfT to look at signage to follow the spirit of the Highway Code.

Baroness Vere – Will keep this in mind when opening up the next review of signage.

RCIB Proposals include thematic investigations. What theme does the Minister feel should be prioritised in the first instance?

Baroness Vere – Would like to appoint the person leading it, and then hold discussions about this and next steps. But clearly want to get it off to a really good start, In the longer term there will be some complicated elements around self-driving vehicles. Short term wins with long-term strategic intervention.

Local Authorities and DfT collaboration

Baroness Vere – can do something with the strategic framework to bring leadership together.

Could pregnancy be incorporated into the sentencing?

Baroness Vere – Not sure how possible that is.

Direct Vision Lorries

Baroness Vere – Will have a think about that. Not sure procurement Bill the right way through but TfL already has plans for Direct Vision lorries so will consider that.

Police Forces keeping money they collect for traffic offences?

Baroness Vere – always been the case that money gets paid into the treasury. You don’t want headlines around incentivisation. Local Authorities can hypothecate money back into local transport.

School Streets

Baroness Vere – Update coming soon

Baroness Vere – Looking at drivers CPC.

Ruth Cadbury – Can we share questions that were not answered with the Department. Lots of little questions that people across the sectors are asking.

Closing remarks from Ruth Cadbury MP

Our annual Parliamentary Bike Ride was due to take place on the 7th June, but has been postponed. A new date will be announced soon.

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