Cycle safety discussed in Parliament + international backing for CTC campaign

Campaign also comes up in questions on cycling safety in Parliament

by Tony Farrelly   May 16, 2009  

safety in numbers - lots of cycling

Cycle safety was discussed yesterday in Parliament where Transport Minister Geoff Hoon took questions on the subject during which Andrew Robathan, Conservative MP for Blaby priased the CTC's Safety in Numbers campaign and urged the Government to take on board its cenral premise: that more cyclists equalled safer cycling as a whole and asked what the Government was doing to to ensure the safety of cyclists?

Mr Hoon told him that his Department had commissioned “a cycle safety research project that will assess the effectiveness of various measures, including road user safety and cycling data, cycling infrastructure, attitudes and behaviour, and cycle helmets.”

Mr. David Drew the MP for Strout also commended the CTC campaing and asked the Minister how the Government was responding to last week's National Audit Office (NAO) report which concluded that while road safety in general was getting better things were getting worse for vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

It wasn't all sweetness and light directed at the CTC, Conservative MP Peter Bottomley, a long time proponent of helmet compulsion got a dig in regarding the CTC's failure to endore helmet use for all cyclists and the Minister too demonstrated that there is a long way to go in educating senior politicians about the realities of cycling on Britain's roads “I believe that we should campaign to encourage people to wear cycle helmets, which can help in especially serious conflicts between cyclists and motor vehicles.”

Sadly the laws of physics and the demands of helmet design mean that this isn't so.

You can read a full transcript of the questions to the minister about cycling here

Meanwhile in Brussels the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the CTC both presented evidence at this weeks Velo-city international conference demonstrating that cycling is safer the more cyclists there are. The campaign also got a mention in Parliament today during questions to the Minister of Transport Geoff Hoon on cyclists' safety.

Speaking at the Velo-city conference on Tuesday WHO representative Francesca Racioppi, acknowledged that cycling is safest in places where there are high levels of cycle use.  The same point was made by CTC at the launch of our ‘Safety in Numbers’ campaign in Parliament last week.

The WHO representative also pointed out that there was a link between levels of “active travel” (that is walking and cycling) and obesity levels in different countries, with Britain and the USA once again being low down the league table compared with places like Holland and Denmark.

CTC Policy Co-ordinator Chris Peck has outlined new research to the conference showing that the ‘Safety in Numbers’ effect can be seen not only in comparisons of European countries, but also from comparing cycle use and cyclists’ safety in different places within England.
 
Chris Peck explained: “CTC’s new evidence shows that cycling gets safer the more cyclists there are. So while Britain has one of Europe’s lowest rates of cycle use, and is a relatively hazardous place to cycle, the good news is that a doubling of cycle use would improve safety not just for cyclists but for all road users, with benefits for our health, our streets, our environment and indeed for our wallets.”