British Cycling has today launched a 10-point manifesto called Time to #ChooseCycling in which it is calling on the government to raise spending on cycling to £10 per head each year as well as a range of measures aimed at turning Britain “into a true cycling nation.”
The organisation says that its manifesto – the key points are summarised below – “sets out what needs to happen to get Britain cycling at even a fraction of the levels seen in the Netherlands and Denmark.
Research commissioned by British Cycling suggests that if 10 per cent of trips were made by bike – well below the levels seen in those European countries, but a fivefold increase on the current situation here – the NHS in England and Wales could save £250 million a year.
The manifesto will be officially launched at a reception at the Houses of Parliament at lunchtime today. Its 10 points are:
1 Cycle-proofing: accommodate cycling in everything we do
Cycle-proofing means that all relevant policymaking specifically addresses the impact a new infrastructure plan will have on the convenience, desirability and safety of cycling. The outcome is roads and junctions that accommodate cycling through better road design and traffic management.
2 Meaningful and consistent levels of investment
For cycle-proofing to become a reality it has to be backed with meaningful and consistent levels of funding.
3 Consistent political leadership for cycling
National and local government must set out long-term cycling action plans with measurable targets, including designating responsibility for growing cycling to senior officials.
4 Improving the justice system to protect and support vulnerable road users
Review how incidents where people on bikes are killed or seriously injured are investigated and prosecuted to give all road users the confidence that the justice system will protect them.
5 Adding cycling safety to the driving test
Cycle awareness must be a core part of driving tests with the emphasis on testing how to drive safely when sharing the road with people on bikes.
6 Strengthening cycling safety provisions in the Highway Code
Where the Highway Code deals with people on bikes, the focus must shift to measures that improve safety most effectively such as the need for new overtaking standards and removing advice to wear certain clothing when cycling.
7 Road and cycle safety awareness
National government and council-led road safety campaigns must focus on reducing risk at source with clear and consistent messaging.
8 Reducing the risk to people on bikes from HGVs
Make HGVs fit for use on our roads by improving the design of new vehicles, ensuring all existing vehicles are as safe as possible and by helping drivers through improved training and planning.
9 Cycle training made available for all children
Make cycle training part of the curriculum to give all children the opportunity to learn how to ride safely on the road.
10 Reducing speed limits saves lives of all road users
Make it easier and cheaper for councils to reduce speed limits in urban and residential areas.
British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman, who will appear in front of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee this afternoon to give evidence on cycle safety, said: “Britain is now one of the most successful cycling nations in the world.
“How can we be getting it so right in terms of elite success but still be failing to truly embed cycling as an everyday part of British culture?
“This research demonstrates that the impact of more cycling would have positive effects for everyone.
“In the 1970s, the Netherlands made a conscious choice to put people first and make cycling and walking their preferred means of transport.
“It is no coincidence that they are also one of the healthiest and happiest nations in the world.
“Local and national government needs to wake up and realise that cycling is the solution to so many of the major problems Britain is now facing.”
The research into the health benefits of cycling was carried out by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), which is run in partnership with the University of East Anglia and Medical Research Council units in Cambridge.
Among other things, it found that if 5 of the 36 minutes the average person spends in a car each day were replaced by cycling, “there would be an almost 5% annual reduction in the health burden from inactivity-related illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.”
Senior researcher Dr James Woodcock said: “Cycling is a great way for people to embed physical activity in their everyday lives.
“If we can get people to stay active throughout their lives then it can make a huge difference to their health.
“To make cycling a mass activity in Britain, as it is in the Netherlands, is going to require both environments that make cyclists feel safe and a culture that says cycling is a normal way for people to get around - whatever their age.
“This research, based on scenarios for towns and cities in England and Wales, outside London, shows the potential for population health benefits from cycling.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.