Better drivers… better streets

Welcome to the B for Better driving pledge. Here at BS4B we dream of a world beyond private car ownership, where streets are safer, cleaner and more joyful. We also realise, however, that there are many reasons why going car free is simply not possible for many people within our current infrastructure.

Nonetheless, it is important that when driving we respect the gravity of our responsibilities. The pledge below identifies areas in which motorists often overlook these, despite the fact that most are legal obligations when using a vehicle.

By joining the many people who have already signed up to this pledge you are demonstrating your commitment to being a considerate road user, thereby helping to enhance the safety and liveability of the environment we share. Even if you have to drive, adhering to the pledge below will enable you to do so in a way that permits others to leave the car at home and travel safely. Thank you for making a difference.  

The BS4B Better Driving Pledge:

As a Bs4B “B” plate holder, I pledge

To use alternative forms of transport where viable

Research shows that 59% of all journeys under 5 miles are taken by car nationally. In Birmingham, the proportion is even higher. Travelling 5 miles by bike or e-scooter will take half an hour or less, and using an e bike or a trailer can facilitate the transport of children or shopping on the same journey.

To respect speed limits

A whopping 87% of all motorists break the law when it comes to 20mph speed limits. At 30mph (vs 20mph), stopping distances are doubled, and the chance of a pedestrian surviving a collision is up to 10 times lower. Speeding drivers in residential areas are also one of the main reasons that people refrain from walking, cycling, and allowing their children to play in the street. In Bristol, the introduction of 20mph limits led to an increase in both cycling and walking by over 20%. By adhering properly to these limits we will create an environment in which more people will feel empowered to make active, healthy travel choices and allow their children the freedom to play outside.

To give space and priority to more vulnerable road users

The updated Highway code 2022 stipulates that motorists should give way to pedestrians at junctions and also allow 1.5 metres space when passing a cyclist (or a full car width when doing so > 30mph). Close passes can intimidate even the most experienced cyclist, but are unfortunately a regular occurrence on our roads. Let’s change our behaviour behind the wheel to make safer, greener, healthier transport choices easier for everyone.

To park in designated areas

It’s no secret that Birmingham has a parking problem. Everywhere you look in this city there are cars straddling street corners, plonked on double yellows or sprawling over our pavements. These vehicles cause obstruction to the footways which can force pedestrians and people in wheelchairs out into the road, as well as damaging surfaces thus causing long lasting trip hazards. Driving on pavements is both illegal and highly dangerous, with over 40 people killed per year by motorists who do so. Yet the culture of convenience associated with driving is such that people will readily overlook the risk they are creating for others in the interests of avoiding an extra few minutes or even seconds of walking to their final destination. If there are no available parking spots where we need to stop, let’s keep going till we find one, or better yet – find a way of getting there without driving!

To avoid idling

It’s easy to forget, when stopping somewhere, that we have the engine running. But doing is a harmful activity that is also proscribed in law. It’s costly, bad for the driver (experiments have repeatedly shown that car occupants are exposed to higher levels of pollutants than those outside the vehicle) and even worse for our city. Over 1000 people per year die in Birmingham from air pollution, and road traffic is the main producer of many of the toxins responsible. Every minute spent idling releases on average 150 balloons full of these poisons into the air we all breathe and makes a significant contribution to the problem. If the car’s stopped, the engine should be too!