The president of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), who is also commissioner of Transport for London (TfL), has issued an appeal for “a step change in cycling” in the UK over the next 25 years, which he hopes will deliver a “century of cycling.”
Speaking last week at TfL’s headquarters at 55 Broadway in the inaugural CILT Cycling Lecture, Peter Hendy said that although there was little that could be done about issues such as Britain’s weather, the introduction of “a systematic programme of relatively small and cost-effective measures that will deliver a step-change in cycling in this country over the next 25 years.”
Mr Hendy, himself a keen cyclist, opened his speech by explaining that the fact cycling now had its own CILT Lecture, similar to rail, shipping and aviation, reflected the way in which “cycling is coming to the fore as a transport mode in its own right.”
He went on: “Cycling is a subject that is close to my heart in my dual roles not only as
President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, which enhances the careers of thousands of professionals in the transport sector, but also as this city‟s Transport Commissioner with Transport for London and with a boss who is famously a cycling enthusiast.
“Wearing these two hats – two complementary roles – gives me, I believe, a fascinating and privileged perspective on the growing role of cycling as a 21st century solution within a broad range of public and private transport choices.”
After outlining the growth that has been seen in cycling in London in recent years due to initiatives of TfL plus other organisations such as Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity responsible for developing and maintaining the National Cycle Network, he continued: “I’d say that cycling has almost become ‘cool’ in the capital, and for some, like in Paris, Amsterdam, or Copenhagen, bicycles are an urban fashion statement of youth and freedom, fitness and vitality – whether on a mountain bike, a flash road-bike, a folding bicycle or a Barclays hire bike.”
That growth, he added, is being repeated elsewhere in the country, and is also attributable to Great Britain’s Olympic success, the growth in mass participation events in the UK, as well as casualty rates among cyclists continuing to fall.
Mr Hendy’s comments follow the publication of a report from CILT last month called Vision 2035, which addresses transport issues facing the UK over the next quarter of a century, and which called for cycling “to be encouraged to help reduce carbon use and provide health benefits”.
In line with that, he went on to summarise six key points that he believed could help continue to grow cycling in the UK, including improved cycle safety, including infrastructure such as cycle lanes, the provision of cycle training for cyclists plus cycle awareness training for drivers of large vehicles, and more investment in cycle parking at transport hubs.
Travel planning at schools and workplaces to help embed cycling culture into daily travel patterns, plus emphasising the positives of cycling to overcome barriers and negative perceptions, as well as further developing Sky Rides and similar initiatives, were also cited as factors that could help continue to grow cycling.
At last week’s event, which was preceded by a guided ride, the East London Cycling Study Tour, Mr Hendy also formally launched a new online resource from CILT, called ‘The Hub - Cycling Knowledge for Professionals’ – although as the trade-focused website BikeBiz points out, some of the materials provided there were initially compiled by the now defunct Cycling England.
You can read a transcript of key parts of Mr Hendy’s speech here.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.