The Government yesterday released its response to the House of Commons Transport Committee’s Cycling Safety report. While new measures have been announced, both CTC and Sustrans have been critical, arguing that sweeping changes are needed if the Prime Minister’s ‘cycling revolution’ is to be realised.
The response states that the Department for Transport is currently working on revising the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) to include many changes aimed at helping authorities provide better cycling facilities. However, Claire Francis, Head of Policy for Sustrans, described these as being ‘sticking plaster solutions’.
“Any measures to improve the safety of cycling in Britain can only be a good thing, and it’s important that this issue is being raised at senior levels of Government. However sweeping changes, not sticking plaster solutions, are needed and these recommendations do not go nearly far enough.”
The changes being considered include new traffic lights to give cyclists a head start at junctions; options for joint crossings for pedestrians and cyclists; options for larger advanced stop lines; removing the requirements for Traffic Orders for some cycling facilities; and relaxed signing requirements for new 20mph zones.
Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Director said:
“The Government’s response to the Committee report is very disappointing. While the Prime Minister calls for a ‘cycling revolution’, his government is making long term plans for road and rail while neglecting cycling. Clearly he needs to step in and take a personal involvement to prevent his cycling plans growing dusty and rusty at the back of the Department for Transport’s store cupboard.”
Francis describes funding as being ‘the missing link’ and the apparent reluctance to address this is one aspect of the response about which Geffen is particularly critical.
“There is a fundamental failure to address the Transport Committee’s weakened recommendation for a timetable on how cycling can be funded by £10 per head annually. This is small change within the Government’s overall transport spending.”
Francis points to the new Infrastructure Bill as being an opportunity to back cycling. She highlights the fact that the bill promises to deliver the biggest shake up to the roads network in a generation, yet makes no mention of cycling.
“An amendment to this bill would provide a great opportunity to guarantee long term funding for safe cycling. I challenge the Government to put money where its mouth is.”