The new co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) has joined calls for lorries to be banned from Central London at peak times to help protect cyclists. Another member of the group meanwhile has said he hopes “something meaningful” comes out of a planned meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron.
Ruth Cadbury was elected MP for Brentford & Isleworth at last month’s general election with a majority of 465. Last week, she was voted co-chair of the APPCG, replacing former Cambridge Liberal Democrat MP Dr Julian Huppert, who lost his seat last month.
Speaking to getwestlondon, she said: "I would support a consultation on a city centre ban during peak hours. It works in other major cities so at this point I can't see any reason it wouldn't work in London.”
Ms Cadbury, a descendant of chocolate company founder John Cadbury, said she did not feel safe riding on bust main roads and preferred sticking to quieter roads and cycle routes.
She said: "I see myself as an ordinary person who enjoys cycling but doesn't do it every day. Cycling's not all about the lycra-clad lads and ladettes whizzing by. I want to encourage more people to feel confident cycling.
"I think in London, and the country as a whole, there's a lot of work to be done to make cycling safer so people feel confident getting on their bikes."
A Hounslow councillor for 25 years and former deputy leader of the council, she highlighted roads such as the A4, A312 and A316 as still being intimidating for people on bikes, and also queried what was happening with Cycle Superhighway 9.
The route, due to run from Hyde Park to Hounslow, was last year dealt what London Cycling Campaign described as “a possibly fatal blow by Kensington & Chelsea's decision not to allow a segregated two-way cycle track along Kensington High Street."
Ms Cadbury also called for more cycle training to be made available to adults wanting to take to two wheels.
Her comments came in a week when the death toll so far in 2015 rose to eight, the latest victim being 26-year-old Ying Tao, killed by a tipper truck at Bank Junction as she rode to work on Monday morning.
During Prime Minister's Questions on Tuesday, David Cameron agreed to APPCG patron Ben Bradshaw's request to meet representatives of the group to discuss cycle safety.
Mr Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter and Patron of the APPCG, told the Western Morning News: “More people are cycling which is great because it’s good for the environment, it’s great for people’s health and it reduces congestion.
“But we’ve seen an increase in cyclist deaths and a huge proportion of incidents involve HGVs.
“We’re a long way behind most other countries. And this has been going on for too long now.
“We’re the only country in Northern Europe that has no restrictions on heavy goods vehicles operating in our busy towns and city centre,” he went on.
“It’s been very successful in those cities where it has been introduced.
“But there are also simple things we can do like better mirroring, and side bars on tipper trucks which make it less likely that a cyclist will go underneath and between the wheels.”
Six of the eight cyclists who have lost their lives in London since the start of the year were women, and lorries were involved in all of those fatalities.
Mr Bradshaw said that research showed that women “tend to be less assertive about claiming their road space.
“There is a tendency for men to cycle more out on the road,” he added.”That might feel like the wrong thing to do but actually its much safer because lorries and other vehicles have to take notice of you.”
Referring to the Prime Minister’s acceptance of the invitation to see members of the APPCG, he said: “I was pleased, and a little surprised with David Cameron’s response.
“It’s very rare that the Prime Minister agrees to have a meeting just like that.
“I hope that something meaningful comes out of it,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.