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Wednesday 31st August 2011

Poll shows support for vulnerable road users

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In a poll by the IAM, 58% of respondents said that drivers should be held legally responsible for accidents between cars and more vulnerable road users in pedestrian-priority zones.

The most sophisticated pedestrian zones, known as Woonerfs, originate from the Netherlands. The concept is designed without pavements and gives cars, pedestrians and cyclists equal use of the same road space. This was considered a good idea by 48% of the 4,000 respondents; with 27% giving it the thumbs down.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “Our poll reveals a surprisingly positive attitude towards better protection of cyclists and pedestrians, both in road layout and legal responsibility. On the continent, attractive street design is used to make it clear where pedestrians have priority but this approach is in its infancy in the UK.

“The IAM supports any move to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, but research is needed into the best way to inform drivers about changes in legal responsibility, and also on the effect a Woonerf might have on the road sense of children brought up in such a zone, when later exposed to less protected areas.”

For more information contact the IAM Press Office on 020 8996 9777.

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Comment If you want to know what a Woonerf shouldn't be like then just pop up to Blackpool and drive the stupidist system that there is in the country and it's directly outside the Tower.

There have been several accidents in just 6 weeks of being open to the public. The road on the promenade has been reduced in width to one lane only and no one can tell what's what. Little or no visible divide. Or advice.

What will happen when the lights start next week and traffic will be bottlenecked into this area I do not know.

Where cars could not park there are now no restrictions, signs and yellow lines have gone as have a number of bus stops and vehicles can I presume park wherever they like as there is no road and no pavements.

The 3 crossings [why crossings] in a pedestrian friendly are some 15ft wide.

I suppose, knowing Blackpool, that this is just the beginning, soon the whole of the 2 mile promenade will be a Woonerf and that I don't want to see.

The Council however are unrependent and state that it will be some time before traffic and pedestrians settle into the new system.

Just waiting for the fatality.
Bob Craven, Lancs

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