The International Federation of Pedestrians (IFP), the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) welcome the initiative of EU institutions to improve the safety of vulnerable road users as a part of revision of the directive 2008/96/EC on Road Infrastructure Safety Management (RISM). We furthermore call on the Council of the EU and the European Commission to take on board the amendments proposed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) that can further improve the directive.
The current RISM directive defines procedures that were supposed to ensure the safety of road users on the trans-European road infrastructure but were focused nearly exclusive on the safety of car-occupants. This is one of the reasons why fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists have decreased at a lower rate – by respectively 13% and 1.4% between 2010 and 2016, compared to 20% for car occupants. In 2017, vulnerable road users accounted for almost half of the road victims in the EU.
In May 2018 the European Commission published a proposal to revise the directive. To address the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, a new article 6b was included in the proposal, stating that “Member States shall ensure that the needs of vulnerable road users are taken into account in the implementation of the [directive] procedures”. We applaud the fact that both the Council and the Parliament agreed with this addition.
The TRAN Committee report adopted on January 10th 2019 also added the following key points to the Commission proposal:
- The Commission should develop quality requirements for the needs of vulnerable road users.
- The Commission should develop minimum requirements for training curricula for road safety auditors and include pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in them.
- Member States should periodically report on how they are improving protection of vulnerable road users.
We consider the above as key elements to ensure EU funding is not spent on building infrastructure that is unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists. New motorways should not cut off cycle paths, pedestrians should have a sufficient density of safe crossings, motorcyclists should not be confronted with unsafe barriers – this sounds obvious, but unfortunately is not yet a reality across the whole EU.
January 23rd 2019 marked the start of interinstitutional dialogue between the Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the revision of the directive. We call on the Council and the Commission to accept the amendments proposed by the TRAN Committee regarding the safety of vulnerable road users. It would be a significant step towards fulfilment of the commitments made by 28 Member States in Malta in 2017, to actively engage in halving road deaths by 2020 on European roads, and by EU transport and environment ministers in Graz in 2018, to take account of vulnerable road users in the amendment of the RISM directive.
Geert van Waeg – President
International Federation of Pedestrians
Adam Bodor – Advocacy and EuroVelo Director
European Cyclists’ Federation
Dolf Willigers – General Secretary
Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations