Restorative Roads was a road safety project that ran from 2018-2019, which aimed to improve understanding between different road users in Leeds.
For the first phase, we invited drivers to come and experience the road from a cyclists perspective in a free 3-hour cycle training course. Here’s what they said:
“Anyone who drives will find it useful, no matter what standard of driving they are at”
“This training should be made compulsory for new and existing drivers in the taxi and private hire industry”
Why is cycle training for drivers important?
We hoped that the cycle training would inspire a sense of empathy – research suggests that drivers with experience of cycling are more likely to understand cyclists’ movements better and feel positive towards them. This is particularly important in West Yorkshire, where the number of deaths and injuries per miles cycled is roughly double the national average.
For the second phase of the project we offered free restorative conferences to cyclists and drivers who have been in a ‘near miss’ or minor incident.
What is a restorative conference?
It’s a type of informal conflict resolution – a meeting with the people involved and a trained facilitator, which aims to repair relationships without casting blame. Read more about the principles behind restorative conferences and the process here.
Why take this approach?
In West Yorkshire there are around 3 cyclist/vehicle collisions per day, and an untold number of ‘near misses’. These kinds of road incidents can often leave emotions running high, with the people involved feeling shocked, distressed and angry. But there is rarely a chance to explore these feelings – or to explain them to the other person. This is why we want to see whether restorative conferences can be a good way to address this. We hope to use learning from the conferences to make recommendations for future road safety initiatives.
Both parties (cyclist and driver) need to agree to participate. The opportunity is available where contact details have been exchanged (or are available) but no insurance or legal proceedings are taking place. For example:
- You are a driver or cyclist who has been involved in a minor collision – you exchanged details at the time but nothing more has come of it
- You are a cyclist who has made a complaint about a taxi or bus driver following an incident