MPs call for fivefold increase in Government spending on cycling

Cycling Safety report calls for£10 per head spending, training for motorists, and for government departments to work together

by John Stevenson   July 18, 2014  

Palace Of Westminster At Night © Andrew Dunn.jpg

A House of Commons committee says that spending on cycling needs to be raised to £10 per head by 2020 to pay for infrastructure and improve the safety of bike riders.

The appeal is made in a report, Cycling Safety, published today by the Transport Committee, which also says that motorists should be trained in how to share the road safely with people on bike, and calls on government departments to work together on making conditions better for cyclists.

The report says that too often, the approach to providing infrastructure "treats cycling as an add-on to roads – an optional extra to be added if there was spare space, rather than a valid mode of transport."

It cites dangers to cyclists as including "poorly designed junctions, aggressive driving and unsegregated, narrow cycle lanes."

It is also critical of some lorry operators, saying: "We are particularly concerned by the number of construction vehicles, such as concrete and tipper lorries, involved in fatal collisions with cyclists, and the failure of some haulage companies to follow best practice around cycle safety."

A number of the recommendations mirror those contained in the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling report, published last year following a parliamentary enquiry.

Launching the report, the Transport Committee’s chair, Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: “Last year 109 cyclists were killed on our roads, and over 3,000 seriously injured.

“Cyclists have told us the dangers they face every day from a lack of cycling infrastructure, poorly-designed junctions and aggressive driving.

“Spending on cycling is currently estimated to be just £2 per head. To make the necessary improvements to cycling infrastructure and training, we call for spending to be increased to £10 per head by 2020.

“Investing in cycling will make the roads safer for all users, and encourage more people to cycle and walk.”

The key recommendations of the report are:

  • Road safety measures should aim to curb the number of cycling casualties while increasing the overall number of cyclists on the road. Achieving both these goals will require steps to improve actual and perceived levels of safety for cyclists on the road.
  • Central government, regional and local authorities, should use all the tools at their disposal to promote the safer sharing of the road between drivers and cyclists.
  • Safe cycling should be made an integral part of the design for all new infrastructure projects.
  • Local authorities should be required to demonstrate that cycling was considered and incorporated into the design of new roads at the earliest stage, and that local cyclists were consulted as part of this process.
  • The disproportionate number of HGVs involved in collisions with cyclists demonstrates that the industry must improve its road safety record.
  • Cycle training should be available to all cyclists: children in primary and secondary school, adults seeking to gain confidence, and those looking to refresh their road skills.
  • DVSA must ensure that drivers are tested—in the practical test if possible, and certainly via the theory test—on their approach to sharing the road with cyclists.
  • Government should reassess its approach to road safety awareness and set out, in its response to this report, the steps it will take to ensure a clear and consistent message of mutual respect between all road users and compliance with the law by cyclists and drivers.
  • Government should consider amending the Highway Code to promote cycle safety and ensure that it reflects the rights of cyclists to share the road with drivers.

Ms Ellman added: “The Committee calls for a cultural change across government, so that all departments work together to fund and facilitate support for cycling.”

“Transport Ministers must demonstrate clear political leadership by championing cycling and the Department for Transport must co-ordinate action across government on this vital agenda.”

Among those who gave evidence to the committee was Roger Geffen, campaigns director at national cyclists’ organisation CTC.

He said: “I am delighted that MPs have once again backed what CTC has long been calling for. Cross-departmental leadership, clear cycle-friendly design standards and serious long-term funding commitments are essential if Britain’s long-overdue ‘Cycling Revolution’ is finally to get underway.”

CTC president, the broadcaster Jon Snow, added: “The positive recommendations made by the Select Committee are good news, but we need our government to go one step further and make the commitment to at least £10 per head funding to make safe cycling with in the United Kingdom with immediate effect, not six years from now.”

24 user comments

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It sounds like another good report. The government has more or less ignored the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's report, and British Cycling's Time to Choose Cycling manifesto. Let's hope that all these reports together will be difficult to ignore, and prompt some funding and some action.

It would be good to see competing pledges on cycle funding in the main parties' manifestos for the next general election.

posted by HarrogateSpa [132 posts]
18th July 2014 - 11:28

55 Likes

The UK Government buget for transport in 2011/12 was £12.7 Billion.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2012/dec/04/public-...

Of this just £70 Million is allocated to sustainable transport, i.e. walking and cycling.

The budget for administration alone is £150 Million.

Cross-Rail gets £520 Million investment.

So expect lots of hot air in the run up to the election about investment in cycling but no real change to these numbers.

The goverment could very easily switch £500 Million from the Highways Agency and Local Agency road building programs. But it won't.

posted by seanbolton [145 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:05

53 Likes

Meanwhile "Roads get £28bn spending boost", that's £444 per head, including "221 miles of "extra lanes"" no, not cycle lanes.

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/jun/27/roads-28billionpounds-spending...

posted by kie7077 [564 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:08

4 Likes

What would be nice is if they could get someone to design cycle lanes/paths who doesn't actively seek to kill cyclists.

posted by SteppenHerring [230 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:20

6 Likes

some of the comments here are staggering. The road system benefits everyone not just car drivers. It's not a car driver spend it's a road spend. I use the roads for cycling and for driving and most adult cyclists do as well. They are also the way that most goods and services are delivered either in whole or part.

I am also quite wary of the idea that cyclists need a specific budget. where specific provision is needed it should come out of the normal budget because well cycling is a normal means of travel not some exotic activity.

I certainly don't want to arrive at a situation in which having allocated a huge budget for cycling specific infrastructure like separate bike lanes that we are told that we need to stay on that and off the roads.

Where roads have a particular issue for cyclists it needs addressing in the same way that a road with issues for another form of transport was addressed.

More money spent on driver education. Definitely and for lots of things not just cyclists.

Let's be careful what we wish for.

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

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:30

52 Likes

SteppenHerring wrote:
What would be nice is if they could get someone to design cycle lanes/paths who doesn't actively seek to kill cyclists.

The trouble is that they don't consider the range of cyclists that might use it. At 10mph they're probably OK. At 20mph they're definitely not. I suspect that a lot of cyclists are treating a path like a road. Though I agree that some of them are just completely flawed at any speed.

I treat a bike path on my bike pretty much as I would treat and unmade road in my car. With some circumspection.

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

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:34

42 Likes

some of the comments here are staggering. The road system benefits everyone not just car drivers.

I agree, we do need investment in road infrastructure, but for me the balance is not right. There needs to be a higher investment in sustainable transport, particularly in urban areas.

posted by seanbolton [145 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:45

42 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
some of the comments here are staggering. The road system benefits everyone not just car drivers. It's not a car driver spend it's a road spend. I use the roads for cycling and for driving and most adult cyclists do as well. They are also the way that most goods and services are delivered either in whole or part.

I am also quite wary of the idea that cyclists need a specific budget. where specific provision is needed it should come out of the normal budget because well cycling is a normal means of travel not some exotic activity.

I certainly don't want to arrive at a situation in which having allocated a huge budget for cycling specific infrastructure like separate bike lanes that we are told that we need to stay on that and off the roads.

Where roads have a particular issue for cyclists it needs addressing in the same way that a road with issues for another form of transport was addressed.

More money spent on driver education. Definitely and for lots of things not just cyclists.

Let's be careful what we wish for.

I think you're missing the point somewhat. I believe the report's recommendations are essentially trying to replicate what The Netherlands and Denmark did say 30-40 years ago. It starts with funding and I'm all for that.

As we all know there is 'safety in numbers' for cyclists. The more that potential cyclists can be made to feel safe on our roads the more of them there will be ... and that will make it safer for all of us.

posted by Joeinpoole [308 posts]
18th July 2014 - 12:50

44 Likes

Good stuff but I'm a bit cynical since there is so much that can be done (just by joined-up thinking and policies) that would cost nothing (probably even save money) and yet doesn't happen.

I am reminded how Paris (yes, that city full of independent don't-give-a-toss Frenchmen) brought in cycle lanes one August when all the rich car drivers were away having pedicures. The mayor simply had cycle/bus lanes created all along major routes by placing huge timbers to separate the lanes.

Worked a charm, as you see today. UK? No guts, no glory. Rich people drive fancy cars and own the government(s). Even in London, a city where driving is an exercise in futility and where 90% of citizens don't own a car, cars obviously still come first.

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [169 posts]
18th July 2014 - 13:12

57 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
SteppenHerring wrote:
What would be nice is if they could get someone to design cycle lanes/paths who doesn't actively seek to kill cyclists.

The trouble is that they don't consider the range of cyclists that might use it. At 10mph they're probably OK. At 20mph they're definitely not. I suspect that a lot of cyclists are treating a path like a road. Though I agree that some of them are just completely flawed at any speed.

I treat a bike path on my bike pretty much as I would treat and unmade road in my car. With some circumspection.


I do agree that cycle paths are generally aimed at 10mph cyclists not 20mph ones. Which is where the 'agressive driving' risk comes in... every day I have some comedian imply that I shouldn't be on the road, and it's simply not good enough.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [956 posts]
18th July 2014 - 13:54

50 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
oozaveared wrote:
SteppenHerring wrote:
What would be nice is if they could get someone to design cycle lanes/paths who doesn't actively seek to kill cyclists.

The trouble is that they don't consider the range of cyclists that might use it. At 10mph they're probably OK. At 20mph they're definitely not. I suspect that a lot of cyclists are treating a path like a road. Though I agree that some of them are just completely flawed at any speed.

I treat a bike path on my bike pretty much as I would treat and unmade road in my car. With some circumspection.


I do agree that cycle paths are generally aimed at 10mph cyclists not 20mph ones. Which is where the 'agressive driving' risk comes in... every day I have some comedian imply that I shouldn't be on the road, and it's simply not good enough.

Well, I was at least partly thinking of on-road cycle lanes. For instance, with an HGV, the blind spots are to the left of the vehicle and directly in front of the cab. Where do the cycle lanes and ASL encourage riders to be? Also cycle lanes that disappear when there's a central refuge, lanes that divert onto the pavement and then spit you out back into the road ...

posted by SteppenHerring [230 posts]
18th July 2014 - 14:33

27 Likes

Solid, accurate, sensible report.

Just. Bloody. Start.

And keep going and going and going.

There are no legitimate reasons why this country cannot provide its people safe mobility for all ages. There is no good reason why this country cannot become civilised. Just get on with it.

posted by Quince [204 posts]
18th July 2014 - 16:07

45 Likes

Quote:
some of the comments here are staggering. The road system benefits everyone not just car drivers. It's not a car driver spend it's a road spend. I use the roads for cycling and for driving and most adult cyclists do as well. They are also the way that most goods and services are delivered either in whole or part.

The problem is, it's not working for enough people. In the recent BBC poll, 50+% of people said that their local roads were too dangerous to cycle on, and 60+% said that their local roads were not well designed to be safe for cyclists.

On the other hand, we have the Dutch model, with safe cycle routes everywhere, which clearly is working, because loads of people are choosing to cycle.

Although British roads may be fine for you, they are not attracting many cyclists. If the goal is to get more people of both genders and all ages to cycle, and I think it should be, then we need more cycle infrastructure (especially in towns and cities).

posted by HarrogateSpa [132 posts]
18th July 2014 - 17:41

31 Likes

Very few drivers who kill are jailed. It would not cost a penny to make a jail sentence mandatory.

Existing laws are not enforced. I regularly come across young lads racing Transit vans in the street near the 3 schools. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers in the High Street are on the phone; as well as most out-of-town van drivers and HGVs.

Before you spend on cycle lanes, try getting the police off their lazy backsides. They sit in their little cabin up by the Sports Centre and never come out except to drive home.

posted by bobdelamare [19 posts]
18th July 2014 - 19:36

27 Likes

And we need more prisons to put drivers in who kill cyclists, for a long long time. Or just lets kill them for they have killed.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [484 posts]
18th July 2014 - 21:49

20 Likes

Expressing a target budget of £10 per head is all well and good but it needs to be spent properly. Call me Mr Cynical but I suspect if you give it to the current bunch of clowns, it'll be spent on tins of blue or green paint and an awful lot of "Cyclists Dismount" signs...

There needs to be a plan first, a budget second. You set out what you would like to build (and to be honest it should be nothing less than the highest quality Dutch-style infrastructure), cost it and then build it.

Ideally it'd be around about your target of £10 per head but if its £12 for a year it still won't impact much on the average which for decades has been about £1.50 per head... Simply saying "here's loads of cash" isn't going to help without a plan of how to spend it.

posted by crazy-legs [566 posts]
19th July 2014 - 6:18

28 Likes

In the same week the Welsh Government has announced (with incentive from Westminster) a new £1 billion M4 'relief' motorway south of Newport in South Wales. Cost per capita UK £16.60 targeted to be finished in 2022. Cost per capita Wales: £326.

They (although it seems minister Edwina Hart has bypassed her own transport committee) have chosen the worst possible route in terms of environmental impact and largely ignored new public transport spend to ease congestion but they do say there will be walking/cycling provision: what use that will be is another matter....

Puts £10 in a very similar time frame into perspective doesn't it?

posted by IHphoto [112 posts]
19th July 2014 - 10:03

19 Likes

Who cares when it's going to be London-centric anyway, like everything else in this backwards country. There's only London in the U.K. don't you know, nothing else exists judging by the way some people talk.

Everybody says how good the Dutch infrastructure is, but it's really not designed for people who want to go a half decent speed anywhere, everybody seems to pootle about. You'd end up with a lot of slower riders getting in your way and some people would be getting road rage more often than they used to.

The only way I can see cycle lanes working is if they were very wide, almost like another lane, but that would never happen here, even if it did, would they bother doing it on your favourite A road if you lived in say....a big town in Northern England? No.

posted by J90 [171 posts]
19th July 2014 - 10:44

17 Likes

Quote:
Safe cycling should be made an integral part of the design for all new infrastructure projects.

What like Bedford's Turbo roundabout?

Quote:
Government should consider amending the Highway Code to promote cycle safety and ensure that it reflects the rights of cyclists to share the road with drivers.

Shouldn't that read:
Highway code to be amended to emphasise that pedestrians and cyclists have a right to be on the road and that drivers MUST learn how to share the road safely.

A Target, becomes an Aim, becomes an Aspiration.
Beware of Politicians bearing gifts.

posted by levermonkey [395 posts]
19th July 2014 - 21:20

7 Likes

Average speed of Dutch cyclists is higher than British cyclists.* They're not held up by cars all the time. Racing bikes are extremely popular as is riding out of town, fast.

*Have seen the stats, it was surprising.

drmatthewhardy's picture

posted by drmatthewhardy [414 posts]
19th July 2014 - 21:25

6 Likes

oozaveared wrote:
some of the comments here are staggering. The road system benefits everyone not just car drivers. It's not a car driver spend it's a road spend. I use the roads for cycling and for driving and most adult cyclists do as well. They are also the way that most goods and services are delivered either in whole or part.

I am also quite wary of the idea that cyclists need a specific budget. where specific provision is needed it should come out of the normal budget because well cycling is a normal means of travel not some exotic activity.

I certainly don't want to arrive at a situation in which having allocated a huge budget for cycling specific infrastructure like separate bike lanes that we are told that we need to stay on that and off the roads.

Where roads have a particular issue for cyclists it needs addressing in the same way that a road with issues for another form of transport was addressed.

More money spent on driver education. Definitely and for lots of things not just cyclists.

Let's be careful what we wish for.

There are more "I"s in this comment than on the average fly. "I use the roads..." "I am quite wary..." "I certainly don't want..."

It's not all about you, or your cohort of vehicular cyclists who are currently comfortable (ish) about using the roads. I use the roads too, reluctantly, because that is all there is, but the vast majority of our fellow citizens will never start to cycle while they are forced to share space with fast moving motor traffic. That is what the Parliamentary committee are making their recommendations about, for the benefit of all of us, not just, indeed not even, the current vanishingly small minority of people who already cycle regularly.

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
20th July 2014 - 10:27

9 Likes

Targeting money to spend is easy. Spending it well is another issue.
What would be far more ambitious would be to target groups who'd like to cycle but won't due to safety etc.
Start with the school run, find 10 schools around the country where people want to cycle. Do the research, put in bullet proof infrastructure and it will happen. You know have a model for the rest of the country.
Likelihood of this happening ? Highly unlikely given our political landscape but it can be done.

posted by arfa [542 posts]
20th July 2014 - 12:25

5 Likes

Waiting

drmatthewhardy wrote:
Average speed of Dutch cyclists is higher than British cyclists.* They're not held up by cars all the time. Racing bikes are extremely popular as is riding out of town, fast.

*Have seen the stats, it was surprising.

Their town cycle lanes aren't that wide, you would end up getting held up by basket bikes. Out of town, obviously they'd be able to go quicker.

posted by J90 [171 posts]
20th July 2014 - 14:18

1 Like

J90 wrote:
Their town cycle lanes aren't that wide, you would end up getting held up by basket bikes. Out of town, obviously they'd be able to go quicker.

In town, you also get held up if you travel by car. The difference is that overtaking a bike with a bike is easier and you can use your bell/voice to get people to go to single file if needed. I've never been able to get a single car to split so I could pass.

posted by Aapje [196 posts]
21st July 2014 - 9:48

2 Likes