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Intimidation of cyclists in UK 'unacceptable' says MP

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth & co-chair of the APPCG slams driving culture in UK and says "not enough is being done to protect cyclists"...

"Not enough is being done to protect cyclists from injury and intimidation" says the co-chair of the All Party Parlimentary Cycling Group (APPCG) and MP for Brentford and Isleworth, Ruth Cadbury.

In a blog posted on national cycling charity Cycling UK's website the Labour Party Shadow Housing Minister called for more to be done in the UK to prevent new cyclists from being intimidated on the road and subsequently put off cycling altogether, citing the non-injury cycling incident study the Near Miss Project.

"I don’t find it acceptable that people just trying to get to work or to the shops are so regularly intimidated," Ms Cadbury writes. "New cyclists report twice as many ‘very scary’ incidents as the more experienced. Maybe they’ll ‘harden up’ and get used to harassment. But our general failure to increase cycling suggests many new cyclists just stop cycling altogether."

"Cycling is a safe transport mode, not just for the cyclist but also other road users: you’re much less likely to kill someone else than if you’re driving a motor vehicle. You’re not causing air or noise pollution. And you’re keeping yourself healthy."

>Read more: APPCG co-chair Ruth Cadbury calls for Central London lorry ban

Ms Cadbury writes that "people cycling are doing something that according to policy and research is the right thing," and goes on to suggest ways that we, as a nation, can look to support cyclists - new and old - in avoiding that intimidation culture.

"People [who were questioned] in the Near Miss Project often said protected infrastructure would help, by separating them from motor vehicles. There’s a long way to go on this. Only 3% of Transport for London’s roads have protected tracks, and most of the country lags far behind London.

"We also need to improve driver behaviour and the way the criminal justice system deals with motoring offences. It wasn’t that long ago that drink-driving was common and socially accepted in the UK. I think we need a similar attitude change when it comes to the treatment of vulnerable road users like cyclists."

In terms of what is actually being done, Ms Cadbury highlighted the work that the APPCG has been doing and changes that it has been calling for, such as substantial increases in spending on cycling, including more and better cycle infrastructure.

She also highlights initiatives that allow cyclists to report near misses and the work cycling police officers are doing to crack down on drivers who pass cyclists too closely.

She finishes the blog post by saying that the APPCG is "planning an inquiry into road justice for cyclists in early 2017" and that the group will produce "recommendations for action" in regards to all aspects of the criminal justice system.

"Our vision," the APPCG co-chair writes "is a Britain where jumping on a bike is as normal as putting your shoes on to go out of the door. Reducing injury and intimidation are a crucial part of getting there."

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