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British bikers launch a new vision for road safety

The British Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has launched a new vision for road safety. ‘Welcoming Roads’ is an evolution of Vision Zero. It promotes safer roads for all road user groups including pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, horse riders and, of course, motorcyclists.

According to MAG (a member of FEMA), improvements in road casualty statistics have stalled in the United Kingdom. For many years, MAG has voiced significant concerns about elements of the Vision Zero brand. MAG supports aspects of the Vision Zero approach but believes that the ideological goal of zero casualties falls short of the test of pragmatism.

MAG has created a manifesto (see below) detailing the vision, and is distributing it to road safety professionals and stakeholder groups to generate debate. MAG’s proposal seeks to preserve the successful aspects of Vision Zero whilst shedding unhelpful ‘baggage’. MAG believes this could break the stagnation currently encountered by the Vision Zero philosophy.

‘The vision to end all road casualties is praiseworthy, but in the imperfect real word, casualties occur.’

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: “This proposal is not an attack on Vision Zero. Nor do we deny that more needs to be done to improve safety on our roads. The vision to end all road casualties is praiseworthy, but I fear that in the real world it is seen as impractical and unachievable by many. Casualties occur in the imperfect real world. Ignoring this obvious fact can lead to a rejection of efforts to improve safety. There is much baggage that comes with the ideological aspect of the current Vision Zero mantra. Certainly for many motorcyclists there is a feeling that their safety gets neglected in a rush to promote active transport modes. I do not believe this is the intent, but perception is critical – especially when the goal is to change behaviours.”

MAG is calling on all interested parties to enter into debate on the merits of the proposed vision.

Source: MAG UK

Welcoming Roads || An improved vision for Road Safety

Manifesto for an evolved approach to Road Safety

The Motorcycle Action Group || June 2021

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has been openly opposed to elements of the ‘Vision Zero’ brand for road safety for many years. There are elements of the Vision Zero approach – notably the Safe Systems model -which we fully support. However, we contend that the ideological goal of zero casualties, whilst morally pure, falls short of the test of pragmatism.

We believe that as a branding exercise Vision Zero actively creates barriers to engagement with parts of the road-using public. Crucially those same disengaged parts of the road-using public are the parts in most need of progress from a safety perspective.

The championing of unrealistic targets leads to disengagement and, in some circumstances, resistance to efforts to improve road-user behaviours. Furthermore,we contend that Vision Zero has evolved with an apparent imbalance of priorities which leads, in some situations,to division and perceptions of ostracism. Using road safety as a tool to influence changes in transport choices creates the danger of a zero sum game. To achieve equality of outcome the approach can lead to exaggerated promotion of some transport choices whilst neglecting other, equally legal, modal choices.

We are keen that the recent plateau in road casualty reductions is overcome. We are calling for a fresh approach that adopts and preserves the successful aspects of Vision Zero yet sheds unhelpful‘baggage’and breaks the stagnation currently encountered by the philosophy. We ask for the road safety sector to adopt an evolution of the Vision Zero branding to one that we brand as a vision for ‘Welcoming Roads’.

At its heart, this vision recognises that roads and pavements are a valuable shared asset owned by, and servicing, all citizens. Welcoming Roads recognises that:

  • Roads are legitimately used for many purposes, including commuting, logistics, leisure, sport and exercise.
  • No-one should feel disproportionately restricted from using the roads for any of these purposes.
  • Everyone should expect to be able to use the roads with equal efficiency and safety, regardless of their legal and legitimate modal choice and purpose for using the road.
  • All road users have a duty to show consideration and compromise with their fellow citizens to maintain an environment that is welcoming to all.

Welcoming Roads applies the Safe System pillars equally, without prejudice,to all road users regardless of their modal choice or legitimate use of the road network.

Welcoming Roads strives to deliver equal safety for all users regardless of their legal modal choice or legitimate use of the road network.

Welcoming Roads relies on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) targets. We offer the Welcoming Roads vision, not as an attack on the Vision Zero mantra, but rather as an evolution of the philosophy. We welcome debate and constructive suggestions for polishing the vision, but above all ask that it is received in the spirit that it is intended: as a vision to consolidate previous success, and restart further improvement in safety for all on our roads.