Cycle safety is set to come under scrutiny again at the Palace of Westminster, with the Transport Committee holding an oral evidence session on the issue at an unspecified date after Easter. The news comes at the same time as the Department for Transport hosted the first of two meetings aimed at devising a national cycle safety strategy. The Times newspaper has also asked people who have signed up to its Cities Fit For Cycling campaign to go online to highlight the most dangerous junction they use and make suggestions to improve it.
An announcement on the Parliament.gov.uk website says: “In recent evidence sessions the Transport Committee has examined a number of topics within the field of road safety as part of its inquiry into the Government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety.
“Reducing the relatively high casualty numbers for cyclists is a specific part of the Government’s vision for road safety. Last year the number of road fatalities fell overall, but increased for pedal cyclists by seven per cent.”
The Times newspaper, whose Cities Fit For Cycling campaign was launched in early February and led to the issue being debated by MPs at Westminster Hall last month, reports that Road Safety Minister Mike Penning is among those expected to give evidence to the Transport Committee.
Committee chairman Louise Ellman told the newspaper: “There are far too many deaths and accidents with bicycles and The Times has highlighted this. It is important that the committee look at this in more detail.
“It is a very important issue,” she added. “We were inspired by the work The Times has been doing.”
The Times said that it is to early to know whether committee members will recommend that the government embrace the eight-point manifesto that forms a central pillar of its campaign.
So far, some 32,000 people have pledged their support to the newspaper’s campaign, and it is now urging them to go online and identify what they see as the most dangerous junction they have encountered and make suggestions as to how to improve it. The AA, British Cycling and CTC are also asking their members to do likewise. The Times says it plans to publish the results, and we will add the link once it is available.
The Times also revealed that the Department for Transport yesterday hosted the first of two planned meetings of a group that has been established to draw up a national plan focusing on cycle safety, including representatives of cycle campaign groups, the police, motoring organisations and road safety campaigners.
A draft strategy will now be drawn up by an independent consultant and put forward for agreement at the next meeting, which is due to take place on Monday March 19. According to The Times, issues addressed will include a focus on improving infrastructure as well as the behaviour of both motorists and cyclists, reducing vehicle speeds and greater enforcement of existing road traffic legislation.
One attendee at the meeting told the newspaper: “Fingers crossed that it actually leads to something. There is a lot of momentum there.”
Another added: “One of the fears is that they come out with platitudes. I think they got the point that this should be much more than that and we need a set of real measures.”
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.