CTC's New Vision calls on Government to double cycling in 10 years

Cycling can deliver in the fight against climate change and obesity… here's how says the CTC

by Tony Farrelly   March 6, 2009  


The CTC today launched its New Vision for Cycling which calls on the Government to commit to doubling cycle use in Britain in the next 10 years. The CTC document comes at a time when the Government prepares to set out its future transport priorities.

Making the case for cycling the CTC's New Vision highlights two areas where a doubling in cycling could make a big contribution: the fight against climate change and the nation's battle with rising levels of obesity. According to their calculations a doubling in cycling would lead to an annual reduction in carbon emissions of 600,000 tonnes and produce economic benefits of £3.5billion, while also cutting the risks of cycling by a third

Roger Geffen, CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Manager, said: “The Government is looking for transport solutions which are good for both the economy and the climate, good for our health and for road safety, good for ease access, for the local environment and our quality of life. There is an incredibly easy answer: promote cycling!”

Other significant benefits says the CTC would be safer, pleasanter streets, towns and cities and a fitter more productive workforce.

The document points out that – 60 per cent of car trips that are less than five miles could be made by bike. If they were it would have a significant benefits in terms of carbon emissions and levels of personal fitness.

The document proposes a three strand approach to raising levels of cycling: these involve the Government making the commitment to doubling cycling and then actively following through promoting cycling itself via its various departments and agencies it also wants both Government and local government to actively promote cycling as part of the planning process both for new developments and the roads network. The second strand wants action to make it easier for people to combine cycling as part of longer journeys on public transport, an the third strand calls for Government action to reduce fear of cycling on the roads.

Planning and roads

The New Vision calls for cycle friendly planning and design and says Local authorities must ensure that all new developments are easily accessible by bike and other forms of sustainable transport.

The roads network should provide safe, attractive cycling conditions, plus their needs to be a big increase good cycle parking and well designed off road facilities “where they enhance cycle travel”

Traffic planners and road engineers should be given proper training and guidance so they understand how to do all this effectively.

The document identifies fear as being a major stumbling block to more people riding in this country and says vision is needed to deal with the fears that stop people from riding a bike and stop them from allowing their children to do so.

The CTC's recipe for eliminating fear on the roads is:

  • Making 20 mph the speed limit on most urban streets
  • Lowering speed limits wherever possible elsewhere and
  • tackling speeding
  • Making ‘Bikeability’ cycle training available to everyone
  • Better training for motorists that includes an under-
  • standing of cyclists’ needs
  • Strengthening road traffic law and its enforcement
  • Addressing the disproportionate threats from lorries
  • Improving the cycle-friendliness of vehicle design
  • Setting targets based on individual risk of injury, rather
  • than on total injuries
  • Monitoring the perception of danger that prevents people
  • from cycling, instead of simply recording casualties alone

Combining cycling with public transport

  • The New Vision calls for good access to and from, through and within stations
  • Safe secure cycle storage and parking plus hire facilities at stations and other inter-changes
  • Adequate space on public transport for carrying cycles
  • Better information about combining cycling and public transport

The CTC believes there is evidence that a doubling of cycle use in 10 years is entirely achievable, given sufficient political will:

  • In London, cycling increased by 91% in 8 years, with a corresponding decrease of 33% in cycle casualties. The capital now plans to more than quadruple cycle use by 2025.
  • Leicester has increased cycle use by 43% in 4 years, with an 11% reduction in cycle casualties.
  • Western Australia increased cycle use by 82% in 7 years during the 1980s, while reducing hospital admissions by 5%.