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A Westminster cycling debate, attended by cross-party MPs, sent a "clear message" to government, say campaigners...

A Parliamentary cycling debate, held yesterday, has reached a record 2.1 million people via social media

The Westminster Hall debate on government funding for cycling attracted a number of MPs described as “unfamiliar faces” in cycling debates, as well as reaching more than 2.1m Twitter accounts, the highest number ever for a digital debate, according to Conservative MP Chris Green.

Campaigners say this sends a “clear message” to government that people want to cycle, and more investment is needed to tackle safety concerns. Among issues raised were the need for design standards to avoid more “unusable” bike lanes, as well as the importance of getting more women, and more black and ethnic minority groups, cycling.

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In response to the debate Martin Key, British Cycling’s campaigns manager, said: “Today’s Westminster Hall debate on government investment in cycling illustrated how much progress has been made in recent years. 

“Cycling didn’t have much political attention in the past and rare debates like these would be poorly attended and often missed the point.  Today, we have MPs from all parties and all across the UK representing the very real concerns of their constituents and British Cycling’s 117,000 members – namely that the vast majority of people actively want to use their bikes more often, but are put off by concerns about safety. 

“A clear message was sent to government today that more investment is needed in segregated infrastructure to make our roads and junctions safer.  Does this amount to the kind of political will to deliver the ‘cycling revolution’ promised by the Prime Minister?  No.  Is it a step forward?  Yes.  We will keep the pressure on.”    

Conservative MP, Chris Green, who secured the debate, said: “If a cycle lane is unusable, is it really a cycle lane? We often see overhanging branches, impassable potholes, large puddles, parked cars and poor-quality surfaces, which are especially noticeable for those on racers. I have a racer, and I cannot use some cycle lanes.”

He pointed out the government predicts a 55% increase in road congestion by 2040, and while £75 per person per year is spent on motorised transport, around £4 per head per year is spent on cycling, including funding in London. Excluding London the annual spend on cycling per person in England is £1.39.

Green said “too often it seems the bare minimum is done” by local authorities, adding “if those who made decisions about cycle tracks were cyclists, they would understand better what should be implemented”.

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, said: "We seek a national set of design standards that reflect those that have been created in Wales and in London, to ensure we get good quality space for cycling".

The national cycling charity, the CTC, says there was too little recognition of the importance of cycling funding in the debate, and that cycling minister, Robert Goodwill’s, speech suggested a lack of leadership on cycling, and “passing the buck”.

Campaigners want to see £3bn of the £15bn roads fund allocated to cycling, rather than a number of pots of funding given to local authorities without what they call clear leadership, meaning many councils don’t end up investing in cycling.

CTC’s Policy Director, Roger Geffen MBE, said: "It's heartening that once again MPs from across the political spectrum have spoken up for the investment needed to make cycling a safe and normal activity. Cycling is not just for healthy young males, but for people of all ages and abilities. I hope the government will now listen, find the funding, and put in place the design standards that are needed to ensure it is well spent”.

 

13 comments

Avatar
the little onion [97 posts] 4 months ago
4 likes

Absolutely agree with everything the (tory!) MP says - investment in cycling is needed, and design standards are needed to ensure that the money isn't wasted like the current city cyling ambition grants.

Avatar
kie7077 [874 posts] 4 months ago
3 likes

And this is all still pathetic, what cycling needs is mandatory standards, no more 1 foot wide cycle lanes that aren't even mandatory.

But 1st off, we need a distance passing law, because the most stressful part of cycling for 99% of people is being close passed at speed by vehicles, there also needs to be a public education campaign to match because drivers don't even know what they're doing wrong. Next up education of drivers about the door zone and primary position would be good, no more of these crap useless adverts made by idiots that educate about nothing and have unreal people all cycling around smiling there arses off like they're on drugs, these ads serve no purpose. I complained to the ASA about one of these adverts because it was suggesting 1 foot was an acceptable passing distance but they are utter morons and clearly didn't comprehend what I was saying, they seem to be very anti-cyclist.

/rant over!

/nearly

Ps and what's this rubbish about police not being able to prosecute drivers if they don't notify them of the crime they committed within 14 days(?) That is clearly not enough time, Police avoid chasing bad drivers because of this, I know 1st hand.

So many easy legal fixes, until the gov't fixes the laws then it's clear that they have nothing but contempt for cyclists.

Avatar
vonhelmet [668 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
the little onion wrote:

Absolutely agree with everything the (tory!) MP says - investment in cycling is needed, and design standards are needed to ensure that the money isn't wasted like the current city cyling ambition grants.

He's my MP, as it turns out.  There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when he took our constituency back from Labour.  Maybe he'll get something useful done, then.

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brooksby [1204 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Totally agree with what kie said above. Educating motorists about what cyclists are legally allowed - and even recommended - to do would be a start. Too many motorists pass their test, learn nothing about cycling, and then they're all set for rest of their life (they think)

Avatar
mrmo [2070 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:

Totally agree with what kie said above. Educating motorists about what cyclists are legally allowed - and even recommended - to do would be a start. Too many motorists pass their test, learn nothing about cycling, and then they're all set for rest of their life (they think)

 

Laws in themselves are irrelevant as clearly demonstrated time and time again. 

The laws that exist MUST be enforced, and real punishments handed down. 

Avatar
brooksby [1204 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
mrmo wrote:
brooksby wrote:

Totally agree with what kie said above. Educating motorists about what cyclists are legally allowed - and even recommended - to do would be a start. Too many motorists pass their test, learn nothing about cycling, and then they're all set for rest of their life (they think)

 

Laws in themselves are irrelevant as clearly demonstrated time and time again. 

The laws that exist MUST be enforced, and real punishments handed down. 

I agree.  I 'd meant only that a few "Charlie says" films pointing out what cyclists can do, and that they are people too, wouldn't go amiss.

Avatar
hawkinspeter [317 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
kie7077 wrote:

And this is all still pathetic, what cycling needs is mandatory standards, no more 1 foot wide cycle lanes that aren't even mandatory.

But 1st off, we need a distance passing law, because the most stressful part of cycling for 99% of people is being close passed at speed by vehicles, there also needs to be a public education campaign to match because drivers don't even know what they're doing wrong. Next up education of drivers about the door zone and primary position would be good, no more of these crap useless adverts made by idiots that educate about nothing and have unreal people all cycling around smiling there arses off like they're on drugs, these ads serve no purpose. I complained to the ASA about one of these adverts because it was suggesting 1 foot was an acceptable passing distance but they are utter morons and clearly didn't comprehend what I was saying, they seem to be very anti-cyclist.

/rant over!

/nearly

Ps and what's this rubbish about police not being able to prosecute drivers if they don't notify them of the crime they committed within 14 days(?) That is clearly not enough time, Police avoid chasing bad drivers because of this, I know 1st hand.

So many easy legal fixes, until the gov't fixes the laws then it's clear that they have nothing but contempt for cyclists.

I totally agree - you've hit the nail on the head.

(Driver) education is probably the most important part of road safety and the vast majority of drivers don't actually want to intimidate other road users. It's a real shame as the numbers demonstrate the huge benefit to society of cycling (e.g. lower NHS bills) yet politicians don't want to annoy the majority (car drivers).

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Awavey [147 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

did anyone listen to the debate ? it was so painfully dull, kudos to Chris Green for securing the debate in the first place, but why on earth did every other MP in the room just keep interruppting just to mention their tiny piece of local cycling ness they vaguely knew about, we had MPs congratulating themselves on the Tour de France visiting Yorkshire for instance , which added nothing to advance the debate, other than provide word tag hits for their speeches in Hansard no doubt.

and after an hour+ of this, the summary was yeah they agreed the government had considered funding cycling, and thats it, nobody secured any national standards, extra funding, or even demanded the goverment went away and did anything more about it

 

call that heartening ?

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JeevesBath [170 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

The question of cycle infrastructure to me is becoming too much of a fixation. In city centre environments, certainly, but not all of us live in the city.

Where I am, there will never, ever, be a cycle lane on most of the roads I would use. That means I have to deal with traffic and would appreciate more being done to address poor driver behaviour. (It's not just cycling by the way; this morning I was halfway across a zebra crossing in a 20mph zone and a car still drive straight through.)

Avatar
The goat [37 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
JeevesBath wrote:

The question of cycle infrastructure to me is becoming too much of a fixation. In city centre environments, certainly, but not all of us live in the city.

Where I am, there will never, ever, be a cycle lane on most of the roads I would use. That means I have to deal with traffic and would appreciate more being done to address poor driver behaviour. (It's not just cycling by the way; this morning I was halfway across a zebra crossing in a 20mph zone and a car still drive straight through.)

Totaly agree - half of cycling fatalities are on rural roads.  Infrastructure is important  but we need to change driving behaviour to protect vulnerable road users.  This needs a simplication of the law, improved enforcement and heavier penalties.  An accident raises a question about a driver's competence and licences need to be withdrawn more frequently.  A driving licence is not a right, the holder needs to understand it will be withdrawn if an avoidable mistake is made which injures a pedestrian or cyclist.

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leisurist [3 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

You dont need driver education, you need the motorist to held accountable for their negligent behaviour against vulernable road users. Laws like strict liability, which work in other countries, is the answer - https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strict-liability-law-for-motorists

Avatar
kie7077 [874 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
leisurist wrote:

You dont need driver education, you need the motorist to held accountable for their negligent behaviour against vulernable road users. Laws like strict liability, which work in other countries, is the answer - https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/strict-liability-law-for-motorists

 

And how are they going to know what negligant behavious is unless you educate them? I've spoken to enough drivers about passing too close and the majority of them stare blanking and appear to have no idea that their passing distance is too close. Better to educate 100 people and have 100 people not pass too close than to educate zero people and fine the 1 person who gets caught whilst the rest continue to drive badly.

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leisurist [3 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

People are not going to care unless you give them an incentive to care. People don't WANT to educated. If you tell them that IF they hurt someone with their car, they will automatically be considered at fault, and have to pay out in cash, you will definitely see some change in behaviour. But don't take my word, look at other countries where such laws exist already. It DOES work. I don't think you understand, its not a fine, its legal liability.