British Cycling unveils 10-point manifesto urging government to #ChooseCycling

Organisation says target of 10 per cent of trips by bike would save NHS in England and Wales £250m a year

by Simon_MacMichael   February 10, 2014  

British Cycling logo 3x2

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.”

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

How about?
10a, Where it is impossible of impractical to physically separate motorised transport and vulnerable road users in an urban environment then steps must be taken to reduce or remove the threat posed by motorised transport.
i.e. Reduction of speed limit to 20mph or banning of motorised transport.

11, Where a cycle track crosses a side road then any cyclist on the cycle track must have protected right of way in the same way that a pedestrian does.

posted by levermonkey [441 posts]
10th February 2014 - 10:19

24 Likes

levermonkey wrote:
How about?
11, Where a cycle track crosses a side road then any cyclist on the cycle track must have protected right of way in the same way that a pedestrian does.

Number 11 so much. When I am asked why I don't use the off-road (on-pavenment) cycle lane, this is the biggest reason why. A clsoe second is the over-abundance of street furniture (bus-stops, lamp posts, sign-posts etc.).

posted by Wolfshade [114 posts]
10th February 2014 - 10:59

18 Likes

It great that Boardman is putting his time and energy into all this, he sums things up well.

in terms of policy making up until now, as (I think it was) Jon Snow put it: 'painting the roads does not constitute a cycling infrastructure'.

ragtimecyclist's picture

posted by ragtimecyclist [139 posts]
10th February 2014 - 13:16

12 Likes

levermonkey wrote:
How about?
10a, Where it is impossible of impractical to physically separate motorised transport and vulnerable road users in an urban environment then steps must be taken to reduce or remove the threat posed by motorised transport.
i.e. Reduction of speed limit to 20mph or banning of motorised transport.

11, Where a cycle track crosses a side road then any cyclist on the cycle track must have protected right of way in the same way that a pedestrian does.

Sorry but no. You have to make cycling safer or should I say feel safer on ordinary roads. If you just separate cyclists from traffic at every opportunity all you do is reinforce the message that roads aren't safe or the right place for cyclists and you encourage motorists to regard the road as generally being free of vulnerable road users.

There are some places where it would be good to separate cyclists and motorised transport. But that isn't the answer to everything. Motorists (and I am one of them as well) need to learn to be safer around cyclists. It's not hard skill wise. There's very few special tricks. Most of the time it just requires a change of attitude and overall behaviour to being a bit calmer and a bit more patient.

In most cases that doesn't even increase overall travel time. You'd be amazed the number of people that argues that they cab beat the average speed of traffic.

I remember whenmy wife and I were first living together back in the early 90s. We used to share my car to work and I'd drop her off at work. She used to get really irritated by my "slow driving" and how long it took. All I was doing was leaving a sensible gap and not speeding along to get to the back of the next traffic queue.

So I used the stopwatch to time it over a month she drove one day and me another. Virtually identical times and identical average times. She couldn't believe it. It just felt slow to her.

That's what you are up against. The people that think you are holding them up or in the way. Just this morning I am approaching a line of stationary traffic. Signalling right and have just taken the lane because in 75m I am going to be overtaking a long line of stationary traffic. And there's a Nissan Micra overtaking me on the wrong side of the road to get to the back of the stationary traffic ahead of me.

I bet if you asked the "lady" driver she was irritated because I was "holding her up". Doesn't dawn on her that either way she's sitting in stationary/slow traffic for the next mile or so and the next time she's likely to see me (if she's going my way) will be about 5 miles up the road.

But in her head she was annoyed I was holding her up.

These are the attitudes we need to change. And I have seen them change a bit. Average speed cameras have a massive impact on motorways for example. Get people to think about their average speeds and journey times as well as the fuel they waste accelerating past the speed limit only to slow down and stop in a queue.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [791 posts]
10th February 2014 - 16:13

11 Likes

Selling off the NHS is what the government have in mind. The physical health of the nation is not their concern.

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [268 posts]
10th February 2014 - 16:46

14 Likes

Ask any non-cyclist why they don't ride. Their answer will almost certainly be "it's too dangerous" due to the amount and speed of traffic in close proximity.

Most of the time cycling is great - on the odd occasion it is VERY dangerous and can be terrifying. Most people will not put up with the potential subjective danger for the 95% good riding. Segregated space reduced actual danger and reduces subjective danger. Asking drivers to be nicer may reduce actual danger, but if there's still that 1% of subjective life-threatening danger then people will still avoid it.

There are plenty of things that can be done immediately to try to change attitudes, and these are free. There seems to be little we can do to change political will to make ANY of it happen though.

posted by teaboy [191 posts]
10th February 2014 - 16:55

9 Likes

nowasps wrote:
Selling off the NHS is what the government have in mind. The physical health of the nation is not their concern.

Interesting comment. Who's going to buy a free at the point of use healthcare system that costs the taxpayer £96 bn a year and employs 1.35m people?

I've been around a while now and lived through 11 Prime Ministers. Every single year since 1947 the NHS budget has gone up by more than inflation.

95% + of the UK population regard a free at the point of use Health Service as a good thing and it has massive overwhelming support for that model of health care. It's got so much support in fact that it is very difficult to introduce changes that match technology, usage and demographics. It's massive popularity makes it difficult to manage.

For example in 1947 accident and emergency was very basic. It wasn't really specialist at all. It was advanced first aid. If you had major injuries from say a car crash your chances of survival were pretty poor. Transportation was not so quick either. So it made sense to locate lots of small A&E departments all over the place.

Nowadays it's a specialist field. If you are alive and can stay that way for an hour with the help of paramedics you stand a really good chance of living. But this specialism means that it makes sense to locate fewer but more highly specialised, centres at strategic locations ie fully equipped and with highly specialised clinical practiotioners.

But just try and shut down one of the old smaller A&E departments and a whole shit storm erupts about people getting a worse service longer transport times etc.

This is the politics of the NHS. Even when service is improving (and it is all the time) and budgets are going up (and they are all the time). Even when 95% + support the NHS (which means almost all Tories do as well) And even when the Government is a coalition and the Tories would need lib dem support to sell off the NHS. There is still someone out there saying it's all being sold off.

If IF the Tories were going to sell off the NHS they would have done it between 1983 and 1992. That's when they had a three figure majority for both Parliaments 83 and 87.

The NHS budgets went up in those years too. Not even a blip.

And you think they've waited all this time to try it now in a coalition?

What have you been smoking?

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [791 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:38

10 Likes

oozaveared wrote:

Sorry but no. You have to make cycling safer or should I say feel safer on ordinary roads. If you just separate cyclists from traffic at every opportunity all you do is reinforce the message that roads aren't safe or the right place for cyclists and you encourage motorists to regard the road as generally being free of vulnerable road users.

And if you think about the difficulty of intertwining two completely "separated"networks everywhere that the existing network goes then it becomes very plausible that the second network is going to have much less coverage. And, this second "separate" network will have normalized the banishment of cyclists from the first.

oozaveared wrote:

In most cases that doesn't even increase overall travel time. You'd be amazed the number of people that argues that they cab beat the average speed of traffic.

Trying to explain the difference between instantaneous velocity versus average speed is not easy. Many people simply believe that you must push as hard as you can at each available moment and then jam on your brakes at the next inevitable hold up.

posted by Ush [440 posts]
11th February 2014 - 1:42

9 Likes

what worries me is that it seems the government is just looking for any excuse to repeal the no cycling on the pavement law and force us to mix it with pedestrians rather than provide proper segregated cycle paths that are seperate from pedestrians and motorised traffic and have priority over side streets and entrances...

posted by Paul_C [275 posts]
11th February 2014 - 11:15

6 Likes

Ush wrote:
oozaveared wrote:

Sorry but no. You have to make cycling safer or should I say feel safer on ordinary roads. If you just separate cyclists from traffic at every opportunity all you do is reinforce the message that roads aren't safe or the right place for cyclists and you encourage motorists to regard the road as generally being free of vulnerable road users.

And if you think about the difficulty of intertwining two completely "separated"networks everywhere that the existing network goes then it becomes very plausible that the second network is going to have much less coverage. And, this second "separate" network will have normalized the banishment of cyclists from the first.

While it's a laudable ambition to make cycling feel safer on ordinary roads, the main beneficiary of this will be those who already cycle. But the issue is how do you get the majority who don't cycle to do it - and to do it without fear, without huge preparation, and for that to be the case for 5 year-olds starting primary school, or 85 year-olds visiting the day centre? A commitment to properly designed and built segregated facilities in urban and suburban areas will achieve that; combining cycle and motorised traffic will not.

I have no problem mixing it with cars on urban roads for the most part, but I've been riding for years, and I'm a bloke with the usual overdeveloped sense of my own invulnerability. I don't - and don't wish to - extend that sense of invulnerability to my children, I simply want them to be safe and to actually want to get on a bike. If they then want to become enthusiastic cyclists, great, but that's not the aim.

'Cycleproofing' is not about those who ride bikes. It's about those who don't.

posted by TimC340 [56 posts]
11th February 2014 - 14:05

5 Likes

Yes we can change political attitudes to cycling. The Netherlands does not have such good cycling infrastructure or high cycle usage rates by magic. People got onto the streets and protested. We'll get the same facilities when we start fighting for them in the same way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o

posted by tendecimalplaces [6 posts]
11th February 2014 - 21:40

8 Likes

This is a discussion that has been going on for quite a long time. I think that the general consensus is the "Dutch" style means adopting degrees of separation that suits the nature of each route and the volume and type of traffic that uses, or is likely to use it. Full separation at one corner of the matrix, shared use and traffic calming at thr other.

At this infant stage of infrastructure development in Britain it's clear that London's Super Highways - separated by no more than paint - were a failure while Bristol's separate cycle and foot paths (particularly the Bristol and Bath Railway Path) have been so successful that they now need widening, extending and duplicating.

Rather than debate the theology and rehearse personal experiences, we are now in a position to take advice from those who have solved the problems, and then use what we know about local conditions to agree on what can be done as funds become available.

We have a great opportunity to do a lot to improve things, with each step bringing new sets of people into everyday cycling for simple journeys. The breakthrough will have come when schools have full cycle storage every day and the school run is frequently done on bikes.

The new national manifesto shares many features with the one that 4,000 Bristolians have already signed up to. IF you haven't seen it it#s worth a look.

http://bristolcyclingmanifesto.org.uk/manifesto/

posted by Sam Saunders [20 posts]
11th February 2014 - 23:26

6 Likes

i suppose it is fine for the celebs, sorry sportspeople, to pester the government and councils for improvements and revisions to law and infrastructure.
But seriously all we need in the is country to get more people cycling are:

1. more sunshine
2. limitiation on out of town shopping centres
3. all city centres to be 20mph maximum speed for 2 mile radius.
4. my favourite.. city centres closed to motorised vehicles all day saturday and sunday

posted by steven miles [23 posts]
6th May 2014 - 17:47

4 Likes