After the Get Britain Cycling recommendations received unanimous support from Parliament last night, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling has called on the Government to implement its recommendations.
The report’s key recommendations – including putting cycling at the heart of transport policy, sustained investment of at least £10 per head, improving HGV safety, reviewing the justice system and appointing a national cycling champion – were all debated at length.
Commenting on the debate, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, Julian Huppert MP, who proposed the motion said: “For decades, governments have not done enough to support cycling, and while the steps taken by this government are welcome, particularly the support from the Cycling Minister Norman Baker, there is far more still to do.
“This Government should do more to implement our recommendations, and I would like all parties to adopt these recommendations for their next manifestos. My own party, the Liberal Democrats, will be discussing this at our party conference in two weeks.
“We need year-on-year funding and a change of mind-set to put cycling at the forefront of planning and design if we are to see real change. The time has come for governments and all politicians to move from warm words to action.”
Ian Austin MP, the other Co-Chair said: “Last night was an incredible moment for cycling in this country. The fact that over 100 MPs attended to highlight the issues that matter to their constituents shows the massive impact that cycling is having in this country. This debate was tremendously supported and shows the consensus on this issue across all parties.
“We should use the inquiry and the debate to drive cycling up the agenda. Let us make cycling an election issue, with local cyclists getting candidates to sign pledges and with the parties competing to produce the best manifesto for cycling. Let us continue the campaign to get Britain cycling.”
The debate also focused on the need for inter-departmental coordination. Holland, Denmark and Germany were all cited as examples of where governments are getting it right. The UK government’s recent £77 million funding announcement was welcomed but MPs said the level of funding should be sustained over more than two years and that it should go to all areas rather than just the eight successful cities.
Speaking for the Government, Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, talked MPs through the government’s response to the Get Britain Cycling report, saying: “I believe that we have the most pro-cycling Government that the country has ever had, and we are determined to go even further. Cycling is good for the environment, good for individual health, and good for the economy. It is good for the environment, because it cuts carbon emissions, noise and air pollution… This government takes cycling very seriously and will make further progress.”
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.