The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s ‘Get Britain Cycling’ Inquiry is to publish its report next week, and Chris Boardman has been speaking ahead of it about his fears that it might not achieve much.
In February Boardman told a panel of MPs and peers at the inquiry that British cycling was at a watershed moment, and the government needed to show more leadership.
He told the Liverpool Daily Post this week: “What few people realise is that this process has been undertaken before, when an almost identical inquiry led to a report and recommendations.
“That report, more or less, came to nought... I’m anxious that this time around the pressure stays on to implement the outcomes.
“The enemy will not be a visible stance against actions that promote bikes. It’ll be apathy and lack of positive actions and political courage.
He added though, that the climate had now changed, making him more hopeful about the outcome of this report.
“The up-side is that the climate is now ready for this and there is a lot of weight to make real change. Cycling is now fashionable, whereas last time around it wasn’t, so I’m really hopeful.”
And the world famous Olympian made a special and direct plea for Post readers to begin that change process here in Merseyside.
“The key place to start is for everyone reading this article to take two minutes to ask themselves, ‘What does the place I want to live in look like?’ ‘What kind of place do I want my kids to live in?’ I doubt anyone’s vision involves more cars or more parking.
“For me, I want my kids to be able to ride to school and the park, I’d like to be able to pedal to the station or shops. This can only happen if there are less cars, and people will only use cars less if they are not the easiest solution. So, the key is local governments having a clear and detailed holistic view of what they want their cities to look like in 10 years. Only then can you measure actions and ask, ‘Does this get me closer to the vision or further away?’
“If they share that vision with people, showing what they want to achieve, I’d be surprised if people didn’t totally buy into it.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.