Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday commended British Cycling on its efforts to promote cycle safety during a visit to the National Cycling Centre in Manchester and underlined his party’s commitment to including a mandatory cycling assessment within all future transport projects, recently announced by Shadow Transport Minister Maria Eagle.
Earlier in the week, British Cycling had also met with new Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond following the launch of a new initiative by the Mineral Products Association to improve the safety of vulnerable road users when sharing the road with vehicles operated by its members.
Following his tour of the National Cycling Centre accompanied by British Cycling President Brian Cookson and Performance Director Dave Brailsford, Mr Miliband said: “It shows what can be done if government works together with the private sector – alongside government and local authority investment, Sky have played a role in this.
“It is about the gold medals, but it’s also inspiring young people to get on bikes. That is just as important as supporting elite athletes.”
Turning to the governing body’s work on cycle safety, he continued: “Safer cycling is a very important issue and it’s great that British Cycling is campaigning on it.
“As somebody who is married to someone who cycles a lot in London, my wife Justine, it’s incredibly important that people have safe places to cycle. Every incident involving a cyclist, the terrible tragedies that can happen, is a reminder that there is a lot more to do to make cycling safer in our cities.
“British Cycling is an amazing, amazing organisation and it was a huge privilege to meet Dave Brailsford and to talk to him about his approach,” he added. “British Cycling is a model not just for cycling or for sport, but for what teamwork and good leadership can do.”
Earlier in the week, representatives of British Cycling had attended the launch in London of the Mineral Products Association’s new Vulnerable Road User campaign, which coincided with a national Cycle Safe event held by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
The three main pillars of the association’s new initiative, which was launched at Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner are:
1. All industry drivers must receive vulnerable road user training. The industry training body has developed a specific course which will be CPC approved and available shortly.
2. New industry LGVs must be fitted with additional safety equipment including blind spot elimination devices and mirrors, side under-run guards, audible left turn warnings for cyclists and pedestrians, and rear warning signs.
3. Existing industry LGVs must be fitted with similar equipment levels within an extended 5 year period with operators encouraged to consider accelerating this timing.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the Mineral Products Association, commented: “We believe that our policy is the most positive initiative taken by any sector with regard to improving vulnerable road user safety and reflects the industry’s commitment to this issue.
“This is not a campaign for a day, or a week, or a month, this is forever. This issue is not going to go away. We are going to play our part and we hope others will do likewise.
“MPA will continue to work with partners in the construction and freight industries, local and national Government and cycling and other organisations to improve safety.
“We believe it is essential that all interested parties must work together so that effective, consistent and proportionate strategies and measures are implemented.
“MPA is committed to playing its part in minimising hazards and risks for all road users and our members want to be at the forefront of helping to improve road safety.”
Following the event, at a meeting at the House of Commons, road safety minister Stephen Hammond said: “It’s important we make the roads as safe as possible for cyclists. There is a lot to be done around road infrastructure but there’s also a lot to be done about behaviour. Better enforcement, better infrastructure, better education as well.”
In reply, Martin Gibbs, British Cycling’s Policy and Legal Affairs Director, said: “It’s good to see the new Minister taking an active interest in issues around HGVs and cycling.
“We know that last year HGVs are involved in a significant number of serious incidents with people on bikes. In 2010 HGVs accounted for 14 per cent of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads despite accounting for only 3% of total traffic in London.
“British Cycling is very much in favour of events like these which promote better mutual respect and understanding and we also need better national policy on measures to improve HGV safety and to ensure that these vehicles are designed to ensure the safety of other road users and are fitted with the best safety technology.”
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.