Cycle safety to get three-hour Parliamentary debate, Sustrans and Cycle Rail get £15m from DfT

Three hour debate scheduled for Westminster Hall on 23 February

by Simon_MacMichael   February 8, 2012  

Palace Of Westminster At Night © Andrew Dunn.jpg

Cambridge MP Dr Julian Huppert, co-chair of the All-Parliamentary Cycling Group, has tabled a three-hour debate on cycle safety in Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament on Thursday 23 February.

The debate, which builds in the proposals put forward in The Times newspaper’s Cities Fit For Cycling campaign, will enable MPs to debate issues surrounding cycle safety and obtain responses from transport minister Norman Baker, whose portfolio includes cycling.

Dr Huppert has also welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Mr Baker, like him a Liberal Democrat, that £15 million was being made available by the Department for Transport (DfT) for sustainable travel initiatives.

£8 million of that money will go to Sustrans, to enable the charity to deliver projects similar to some of those under its Connect2 programme, part-funded by the £50 million Big Lottery Fund grant it won through the ITV1 People’s Millions Lottery contest in December 2007.

According to the DfT, the new routes will “further [build] on the Department’s investment in Links to Schools, which have seen the construction of safe, traffic free and traffic calmed routes for cyclists and pedestrians between schools and the National Cycle Network.”

Meanwhile, £7 million will go to the Cycle Rail Working Group and will be spent on “improving integration between cycle and rail at stations across the country, including through improved cycle facilities at stations.”

The DfT added: “This additional sum will complement other projects already being delivered by Network Rail, who are themselves delivering a £7m programme of cycle facilities at stations and safe access routes to stations,” and that details of specific projects would be revealed next month.

Commenting on the news, Dr Huppert said: “Promoting cycling and green transport is the right thing to do and I am delighted Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are taking action.

“This comes at a crucial time. Just five days ago The Times launched a cycle campaign in response to the shocking increase in fatalities among cyclists on our roads.

“It is absolutely essential people should be able to walk to work or cycle to school in a safe environment. The extra £8m for Sustrans will go a long way to achieving this.

“And the £7m for improved rail-cycle links will ensure that we continue to build a transport network which puts passengers first.”

8 user comments

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"£7m for improved rail-cycle links will ensure that we continue to build a transport network which puts passengers first."

Obviously that's good, but there's no mention here about improving provision to carry bikes ON trains. Cycling to a station and getting the train isn't the whole journey, you need a travel option at the other end too.

posted by stevboss [19 posts]
9th February 2012 - 11:50

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@Stevboss - You're not suggesting an integrated transport policy?? In the UK! I won't be holding my breath for that.

posted by mad_scot_rider [534 posts]
9th February 2012 - 12:15

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£15 million?

My first thought was:

My goodness, that'll pay for loads more conductors to shout "Oi, you can't bring that on here!" Thinking

Ooooh, me legs...

posted by Oh heck... [46 posts]
9th February 2012 - 13:26

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Oh heck... wrote:
£15 million?

My first thought was:

My goodness, that'll pay for loads more conductors to shout "Oi, you can't bring that on here!" Thinking


or a handful of feasability studies, some drawings by Mouchel and for a few blokes to go and lay down some white paint. Oh, and these:


source

Angry

Compare it with the additional £200m found for repairing potholes in England last March. Meanwhile the HS2 rail line is estimated to cost £32 billion (more figures here), which may save travellers a matter of minutes between Euston and Brum. But that means less time to get work done while on the train!

Last summer the Telegraph said £18 billion had been spent so far on the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

In the scheme of things it's a pittance.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1884 posts]
9th February 2012 - 15:14

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Can they open with a standing order for any idiot MPs who mention red-light jumping, hi-vis/helmet compulsion or mandatory licensing to be found in contempt and thrown out, please? Otherwise, anyone like to place a bet on how many speakers will ignore the idea of fixing the cities and focus on trying to "fix" the cyclists who are not the cause of the bigger problems?

Maybe some of that £15m can go on fixing the disgusting situation at the main station in Julian Huppert's own Cambridge constituency. Is http://www.fixmytransport.com/campaigns/fix-the-dire-cycle-parking-shortage still FMT's most popular campaign?

posted by a.jumper [679 posts]
9th February 2012 - 17:17

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£15 million will do good, but is symptomatic of all UK governments' piecemeal approach to funding cycling. What is needed is a steady and non-trivial proportion of the DfT's budget to be spent on cycling every year.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
9th February 2012 - 17:27

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We had some great refurbished trains on the N Berwick line, one quarter of a carriage all decked out with dedicated bicycle storage. Each side of the aisle had a raised checker plated plinth with two u-bend powder coated rails, with individual selt-belt style retractable harnesses. Took 8 bikes in total. I think they won an award for them.

Scotrail in their infinite wisdom introduced new trains recently on this line. Now they are newer and a bit nicer, but the bicycle provision consists of two prongs sticking out the side aisle on one carriage, similar to the affair you'd have strapped to the back of a car. This will take 3 bikes at a push, all leaning against each other, with one solitary velcro strap to hold them in place. It's utterly hopeless.

posted by moonbucket [55 posts]
9th February 2012 - 18:52

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Moonbucket you are obviously not travelling on the same trains as I've used (and are now the only trains) on the N Berwick and Dunbar-Edinburgh services (and 2 trains per day via Carstairs to Glasgow) There are 5 tip up seats with enought space to stow a couple of tandems in the designated vehicle for cycles - When I last travelled we had 6 bikes stacked in there plus bkes by the accessible toilet using the side of the train with 9 tip-up seats (in addition to the 2 wheelchair users' spaces (which are often available) plus since the Scotrail policy and ROGS safety assessment also permits the use of 8 door vestibule spaces, on the opposite side to the platforms - ie the one side for all stops except N Berwick and Edinburgh (1 bike officially by easily taking 2 bikes). I think we had around 15 bikes on the 16.00 train to Edinburgh that Sunday, and room for a couple more.

Of course if you are quick you can put a submission in for Rail 2014 specifying the Scotrail refranchising, and quite patently none of this whatsoever has any relevance to a debate in Westminster Hall as the Scotrail framnchise is handled by Transport Scotland on behalfe of the Scottish Government at Holyrood.

What is relevant is that the £6m for cycle rail is added to the residual amount for the original Adonis £7m and a £2m element for access.

I wil put it bluntly though that when we have spatial planning that requires aropund 50% of the working population of the Home Counties to travel in to Central London within a 2 hour window many trains will be filled to approaching 200% of their seated capacity, with every metre of train length required to fit in the passengers. and since you don't need to ride a bike on the train, there are other solutions, to deal with this problem. This is especially the case as outside that short window most trains are filled to barely 20% of seated capacity.

There is a demand for the facility though - of immediate access to a bike for onward travel, and a rapid bike to train transfer at the start of the journey. Not that difficult to resolve and the value to a London rail commuter soon adds up to over £2000/year in direct cost savings (Car park, Oyster/London Zones 1-6) plus up to 20 Days of time saved per year, and indirect savings on Gym sessions and running a second car) Thus we have a demand for a service, which means a market, which means a potential value that pays for the service.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [468 posts]
20th February 2012 - 22:44

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