The RAC has responded to the Government’s plans to invest £2 billion in active travel, saying the needs of all road users still need to be considered.
Nicolas Lyes, the RAC’s Head of Roads Policy said: “We welcome the Government’s approach to increasing safe cycling and active travel for people to get about, particularly as concerns about the safety of using public transport are likely to persist for some time. The success of new walking and cycling schemes will depend on how attitudes to using cars for short journeys have changed over recent weeks, and if those attitudes translate into people permanently switching to active forms of personal transport.
“It’s very likely that while traffic volumes are currently down, people will inevitably return to the comfort and convenience of their vehicles for some journeys when lockdown restrictions are eased, especially where they need to cover longer distances or have a longer commute. The needs of all road users must therefore be carefully considered. For example, authorities will need to be careful about reducing road space in certain areas as they could end up creating problems if traffic demand outweighs those opting to use a bike.”
He said additional funding for electric vehicle charging was much needed. “While the proportion of drivers looking at purchasing an electric vehicle as their next car choice remains relatively low, interest is increasing. Charging infrastructure in the UK has improved significantly, though drivers still say this remains a barrier to them choosing an electric vehicle, alongside range and comparable cost to a similarly sized conventional vehicle.”
He said while drivers were ‘lukewarm’ about the idea of having e-scooters on roads, members often say they would like to have cheap, reliable alternative forms of transport. “So the Government is right to look at different ways for us to get around in congested cities.”
Mr Lyes went on to say: “The Transport Secretary said the car will continue to play a vital role and we also await further detail on his pledge to look at investing in wider road infrastructure, including using this period of lower traffic volumes to fix potholes on our local roads.”