Road Safety News

IAM demands more protection for pedestrians and cyclists

Monday 13th May 2013

In the wake of UN Global Road Safety Week 2013 (6-12 May) which put pedestrian safety under the spotlight, the IAM is urging the Government and car makers to prioritise making the front of vehicles more ‘pedestrian-friendly’.

According to the IAM, the Government should take the lead in lobbying the European Commission and car manufacturers to make radical changes so that vulnerable road users can get the same five-star protection as those sitting in the vehicle.

While the number of deaths and serious injuries among car occupants fell in 2011, the figures increased for pedestrians and cyclists.

The IAM also highlights that since 2006, car occupants' deaths and serious injuries have fallen by 35% but for pedestrians the fall is just 16%, while cyclist deaths and serious injuries have increased by 31%.

Car occupants benefit increasingly from the high standards of crash protection brought about by the Euro NCAP crash testing programme, ensuring there are more four and five-star cars on the market. However, improvements to the front of vehicles that would benefit pedestrians and cyclists in a collision have simply not kept pace, claims the IAM.

IAM research shows that the average Euro NCAP rating for car occupants in super minis in the last three years is 82% while for pedestrians it is 53%. The IAM calls for a focus on bringing pedestrian safety up to the level now enjoyed by car occupants.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “While the people in the car are much safer, in the case of a crash with a pedestrian or cyclist, the front of the car is not as forgiving.

“Much more can and should be done through car design to minimise the damage caused by hard metal on soft tissue.”

For more information contact the IAM.


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Dave: Yes I agree with your last comment obviously and had the ‘demand for more protection for peds and cyclists’ come from a pressure group representing these particular vulnerable road-users, I would have understood and wouldn’t have commented so negatively, but it came from the IAM - who supposedly promote better driving – and I was dismayed at their fatalistic approach.

The IAM should recognize how defensive driving can make such collisions largely avoidable and be vigorously promoting that angle, instead of putting the onus on the manufacturers to lessen the impact of (in their eyes) the inevitable and unavoidable. What did they have in mind anyway? The frontal area of cars have for some time been designed and constructed to be as pedestrian-friendly as possible and I’m not sure what more can be done.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

Hugh, firstly, thanks. Secondly I think it's important we be realistic. Even the best driver will make errors or have lapses of concentration and if a pedestrian runs into the road heedless of traffic during one of those then secondary measures like softer cars will help reduce injury so have to be a good thing. I also think that given the number of distracted, harrased, inattentive or down right bad drivers who are some way from 'the best' that there are out there means we need to use a variety of measures to protect all road users. If as a vulnerable road user you expect other traffic to see you and make allowances for you then you will quickly find out why you're classed as 'vulnerable'. I had right of way is a rubbish epitaph.
Dave, Leeds

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

I guess discussion forums tend to create polarised view, but let's all remember that any collision has multi-factored contributions and that the art/science of casualty reduction is attacking all parts of the causal chain. If a car can be made "softer" and the cost of doing so is reasonable then this should be part of the plan to reduce pedestrian casualties which largely take place at survivable car speeds in urban areas. Making cars more forgiving if an impact takes place is hardly very likely to encourage drivers or pedestrians to be more reckless!
pete, liverpool

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)

Sorry Dave - whilst I usually regard your comments to be more sensible and informed than most on this website, on this occasion, I have to dig my heels in and say that the motorist being the faster moving, more potentially lethal road user, has to therefore assume ultimate responsibility for his/her actions. The whole point of driving a motor vehicle defensively is that one can and must take whatever steps are necessary to avoid hitting the slower-moving, more vulnerable, road user - no matter how unpredictable they may be.

It can be done: i.e slow speed when necessary; covering the brake pedal; concentration; anticipation; awareness; vigilance etc. Obviously we don’t need to slow traffic to a crawl, but there are times when, as individual drivers we must if necessary ‘crawl’– the alternative is an another statistic and a life ruined.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (4)

We've had "Hit pedestrians at Xmph and they have a Y% chance of survival." Now we have "Hit pedestrians with friendlier vehicles and they'll not get so hurt".

Neither of these approaches has any place in a serious road safety strategy. Who is looking at why [sober] pedestrians are finding themselves in front of moving vehicles?
Bring back Tufty.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (6) | Disagree (14)

Can't blame everything on the driver Hugh, increases in drunk adult pedestrian casualties are largely down to the pedestrians. Making cars more pedestrian friendly seems like a step in saving them from themselves. Or do we reduce all traffic to a crawl on the off chance a pedestrian should run into the road?
Dave, Leeds

Agree (10) | Disagree (6)

Bit arrogant isn’t it? “We (the motoring public) expect to be hitting more pedestrians so we DEMAND that the front of our vehicles be modified so they don’t cause as much pain and death” Bit like asking munitions manufacturers to make their ammunition less harmful by wrapping them in foam.

If the IAM want to ‘demand’ anything from the car manufacturers, how about demanding they stop producing vehicles with ridiculous acceleration times and unnecessarily high top speeds – or do they want their cake and eat it?

I’m not knocking the IAM necessarily, just the fatalistic approach to roads safety we seem to have adopted. I’ve got a better idea – don’t collide with anything or anyone – if you put your mind to it, it’s really not that difficult.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (15) | Disagree (5)