How Can We Protect Vulnerable Road Users?

Vulnerable road users are people just like us and our families and are easily injured.

So, what can we all do to protect vulnerable road users? Let’s start by taking a closer look at this group and some facts about them.

Who should we class as a Vulnerable Road User?

  • Children

  • All pedestrians

  • The elderly and those with a disability, including hard of hearing and sight-impaired people

  • Cyclists, motorcyclists, and moped riders

  • Horse riders and people with animals

We should also include vehicle drivers who are inexperienced.

The sobering facts…

When driving we should all consider the circumstances and needs of all other road users out of consideration and courtesy. There are still many incidents on the road each year involving vulnerable road users.

In 2017 there were…

  • 101 cyclists were killed in road collisions

  • 470 pedestrians were killed in road collisions

  • 53 deaths were caused by collisions on 20 mph roads

  • 7 horse riders and 40 horses were killed in road collisions

So how do we all minimise these statistics? And how can you help drivers manage and mitigate these risks?

Creating good practice by creating a shield…

Vulnerable road users do not have a protective shield around them. However, vehicle drivers do, and the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the shield.

Did you know that vehicles moving at more than just 18 mph become a serious threat to vulnerable road users?

People may not be able to judge your speed accurately, especially if you are speeding, and could step out in front of you.

You and your drivers can create a protective shield for the vulnerable road users by:

  • Slowing down to less than 20 miles an hour outside schools, at pedestrian crossings and areas where there is a high volume of pedestrians or cyclists. Anticipate whilst in those areas and be prepared to stop to let pedestrians cross the road safely

  • When turning left always use your rear and side mirrors throughout the manoeuvre, checking all your blind spots for cyclists and other vulnerable road users

  • Driving with a large distance between you and the cyclist or horse in front of you, as cyclists stay close to the edge of the road where it is most uneven with potholes and drain covers. Beware that they may veer into your path

  • Giving cyclists, horse riders, and pedestrians a car’s width as you pass them – that’s at least 3 meters, as they are all vulnerable to air draughts from passing vehicles

  • When overtaking horses and riders, do so at only 15 mph or below. If alarmed a horse’s natural instinct is to run which could be at your vehicle whichever way you are traveling from or towards them

  • Respect cycle lanes and pavements. Don’t drive or park in/on them

  • When parked in parking bays use the ‘Dutch Reach’ method * to open doors onto the road

Be responsible…

Sharing the road responsibly is best practice, being courteous and patient costs nothing.  Remembering that vulnerable road users are someone’s mother, father, brother, sister or child brings this into focus.

Failing to look properly is the number one contributory factor in collisions involving goods vehicles and vulnerable road users as they are less likely to be seen by a driver who does not take enough care to look properly, particularly at junctions.

Creating safer habits through driver training and reminders of good practice creates safer driving habits. We are all human and sometimes drivers forget the simpler ways of keeping themselves and others safe during their busy day.

Know the law…

Causing Death by Careless or Inconsiderate Driving (Section 2B of the Road Traffic Act 1988, amended by the Road Safety Act 2006, s. 20)

This charge can be brought when a driver causes a death because their driving ‘fell below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver’. It was introduced after concerns were raised about the lack of mention of death in the Careless Driving charge. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and an unlimited fine

Code, status and penalty points on Licences:

  • CD80 – Causing death by careless, or inconsiderate, driving

    • 3-11 points

  • CD20 – Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users

    • 3-9 points

  • CD30 – Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users

    • 3-9 Points

Codes CD20, CD30 and CD 80 must stay on a driving record for 4 years from the date of the offence. Some offences may also involve a disqualification.

Road Skills Online Professional Development Plan

We believe that regular driver training can help to improve driver’s behaviour on the road, helping you to save ££££’s on your bottom line. One of the monthly Toolbox Talks in our Professional Development Plan is on Vulnerable Road Users, it’s designed to remind your drivers of what they need to know to stay safe.

Let our online driver training help you deliver Toolbox Talks to your drivers with ease.  Click below to get your virtual demo and free trial!

Save time, save money and keep your drivers safe on the road, it’s a win-win for everybody.

Sources | Department of Transport 2017 | Highway Code Rules 204-218

Published | October 2020

* see separate blog – What is the Dutch Reach?