Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Boardman: government's cycling record "very disappointing"

Supposedly we live in a democracy, the majority of people say they want safe cycling routes, so why aren't we doing it? says Chris Boardman...

Chris Boardman says government needs to listen to “the vast majority of people” who have said they want safe cycle infrastructure.

Boardman spoke out following the British Cycling commissioned poll revealing that 70% of people support cycle infrastructure on main roads. He said national leadership on cycling is needed, so that doing nothing is not an option for local councils.

He told road.cc at the Lee Valley Velopark last week this government has been “very disappointing” on its record for cycling, after saying it wants a cycling revolution three years ago, while cycle funding is set to drop to £1.39 per person this year.

Cycle infrastructure helps companies attract "top talent"

Boardman told road.cc the 70% figure in support of infrastructure does not come as a surprise. “The vast majority of people want to see more provision for their families to be able to cycle to get to work, to get to school. We’ve known it for a long time," he said.

He called this the latest brick in the wall of evidence in terms of public support that makes it harder for government to ignore, adding to data on cycling's benefits on air pollution, public health, and economics.

“Supposedly we live in a democracy. The majority of people are saying, from an independent survey, we want to see more of this and so why not, really?

“Everything says you should be doing this… it’s the most efficient form of transport from the government’s own figures, so I want to know why aren’t we?

When asked about the government’s agenda of localism, with Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill emphasising the onus is on local government to allocate money to cycling, Boardman said

“It depends on where you draw the line with localism, we have a 30 mph speed limit, 70 mph speed limit for the whole country, we have a centralised government for a reason.

"For me what localism should be is: ‘this is what we want our towns and cities to look like, this is how we want people to get around for the good of all of us’. How you do that in your area is up to you, but not doing it is not an option.

“The Active Travel Bill in Wales says ‘we want to make a change, we want to do things differently’, and that’s the kind of thing that we’d like to see, but this government has been, it’s very disappointing, we had statements such as ‘I want to see a cycling revolution’, ‘I want our country to rival any of our European neighbours’, well that was, what, three years ago now, and cycle funding has dropped away.”

Add new comment

11 comments

Avatar
severs1966 | 6 years ago
0 likes

It's much simpler than that. The government made promises, but they were lying. Politicians do this. Mr Cameron said that he wanted to see a cycling revolution; he had no such desire, but he knew it sounded good.

That's all there is to it. Your elected representatives lie to you to make themselves electable. They want power. They don't want to give you want YOU want, they want you to put them in a position to give them what THEY want.

Avatar
brooksby | 7 years ago
1 like

We live in a representative democracy. Once every four or five years we all get to choose between a small selection of puppets who claim to have particular views on particular issues. What the majority of the public want (or even vote for) doesn't enter into it: see the number of Green or UKIP MPs vs how many people actually voted for them, or  see how people voted Lib Dem as an anti Tory vote only for the Coalition to be formed because LD leaders thought it was a chance at power ...

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to brooksby | 7 years ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

We live in a representative democracy. Once every four or five years we all get to choose between a small selection of puppets who claim to have particular views on particular issues. What the majority of the public want (or even vote for) doesn't enter into it: see the number of Green or UKIP MPs vs how many people actually voted for them, or  see how people voted Lib Dem as an anti Tory vote only for the Coalition to be formed because LD leaders thought it was a chance at power ...

There is proprtional representation in Scotland: it hasn't led to more support for cycling.

If there was PR in England, coalitions you didn't vote for would be far more common.

Avatar
frogg | 7 years ago
1 like

So the trick is to give a choice between controlled alternatives ; other options are labelled populist, nationalist or whatever . In a case where an uncontrolled alternative emerge, the controlled alternatives suddenly form an alliance to save , you know what, the democracy !!!

 

Avatar
frogg | 7 years ago
2 likes

C'mon, britons, you should know; "Modern" democracy has been invented by the british nobility when they saw theirs peers in France losing their heads in the French revolution. So they thought : why not give a choice between puppet A and puppet B to the ignorant masses? It's like catch fighters, you think they are really fighting but only the manager runs the show ...

So only the oil industry and car manufacturers are running the show and they give politicians pocket change for doing what they are told to do.

Avatar
Dnnnnnn replied to frogg | 7 years ago
0 likes

frogg wrote:

So only the oil industry and car manufacturers are running the show and they give politicians pocket change for doing what they are told to do.

Is that why drivers pay c.£40 billion a year in motoring related taxes and while public subsidy of the railways is at an all-time high?

Avatar
jacknorell replied to Dnnnnnn | 7 years ago
0 likes

Duncann wrote:

frogg wrote:

So only the oil industry and car manufacturers are running the show and they give politicians pocket change for doing what they are told to do.

Is that why drivers pay c.£40 billion a year in motoring related taxes and while public subsidy of the railways is at an all-time high?

If you in any way believe motoring taxes are a net benefit to society, I have a few bridges/monuments/religious relics to sell you. Cheap, just for you.

</sarcasm>

Avatar
the little onion | 7 years ago
3 likes

"Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill emphasising the onus is on local government to allocate money to cycling"

There are two issues - local government have been given the responsbility, but not the ability - central government has cut funding greatly. Central government has passed the buck, but not passed the bucks. Yet at the same time, you could go further than Chris B has, and point out that central government does allocate local funding to transport, to some extent, e.g. ring fenced funding for roads, and indeed for the Cycle City Ambition fund. They just choose to give relative peanuts for cycling funding.

Shoddy government.

Avatar
Jacobi | 7 years ago
2 likes

The government keeps telling us that they want to increas cycle use. As far as I'm concerned it's all just lip service to keep the cycling looby quiet.

Avatar
Stef Marazzi | 7 years ago
2 likes

I have spent several years and countless emails writing to my local councils, local councillors, tweeting them on twitter, filling in consulations, questionaires and surveys. Everytime, the response is the same. "We'd love to do more, but there is no budget".

Avatar
jasecd | 7 years ago
5 likes

As usual Chris is 100% correct but the simple truth is that Britain isn't all that democratic. We have a government driven by ideology and obsessed with austerity to the point where they have practically abandoned investment in the future in a myriad of ways. I really think that their short sighted, economically illiterate approach has put us in a position where they cannot afford to see a decline in tax reciepts from motorised traffic.

We all know that cycling as an activity represents a net gain to society but our government is not really concerned with society in general - they care only about a privileged elite and wealthy older voters. 

 

Latest Comments