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article imageReport: Building of future roads should not prioritize motorists

By Tim Sandle     Jan 20, 2019 in Environment
London - The building of new roads should be designed for cyclists and pedestrians first and not to prioritize motorists, at least in the U.K., according to a new report from the U.K.’s health watchdog.
The reasoning behind the recommendation is partly aimed at safety, reflecting the challenges many cyclists face on Britain’s roads, and also aimed at future health goals, according The Daily Mail.
The recommendation comes from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The U.K. government agency states that urban planners should ensure that roads are designed with a view to achieve spaces that are safe, convenient and provide access for pedestrians, cyclists and users of public transport.
NICE also recommend that pedestrians and cyclists be should be prioritised over motorised forms of transport, such as cars, motorbikes and mopeds. The aim here is to encourage people to be more active in their physical lives.
This approach is sometimes referred to as the Copenhagen model, as The Guardian notes. In the Danish capital bikes are prioritised and there are separate raised lanes for cyclists and a physical barrier in place between the car and cyclists. Furthermore, bikes have separate traffic lights, which turn green ahead of those for cars, allowing cyclists to move off first.
According to The Independent, in the U.K. physical inactivity is responsible for one in six deaths and is costs the economy £7.4 billion ($10 billion) a year, which has the same impact as smoking.
NICE deputy chief executive Professor Gillian Leng told the BBC: "Getting people to be more physically active by increasing the amount they walk or cycle has the potential to benefit both the individual and the health system.”
She added: “People can feel less safe when they walk or cycle compared with when they drive. We've got to change this."
The proposal has been criticized by motoring groups, such as the RAC. Nicholas Lyes, of the RAC, told Auto Express magazine: “the use of many roads is inevitably shared between different types of motorised traffic, cyclists and pedestrians – with priority often given to motorised transport in order to keep large numbers of people moving.”
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