Former world and Olympic champion and Tour de France maillot jaune Chris Boardman has produced a short film for British Cycling that poses the question, Who Are Cycle Lanes For? The film has been released ahead of his appearance on Wednesday before the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ Parliamentary Inquiry, the fourth of six sessions and focusing in part on how to turn Britain’s sporting success into getting more people riding bikes.
That’s part of a wider look at the health aspects of cycling, including promoting it in schools and the workplace and access to facilities, with other witnesses including Phil Insall of Sustrans and public health and transport consultant Dr Adrian Davies.
They will be joined by representatives of the Department of Health, the Cycle to Work Alliance, NICE, the Forestry Commission, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Natural England and Mountbatten School, Hampshire.
The session, held in Committee Room 8 of the House of Commons, lasts from 9.30am to 11.30am and can be followed on Twitter via the hashtag #GetBritainCycling. The final two sessions will look at ‘The Local Perspective’ on 27 February, and ‘Government’ on 4 March, ahead of a report being published in April.
Boardman’s short, near silent film – no voiceover, just the rumble of wheels, the odd click of gears, and the noise of passing traffic – highlights just some of the obstacles that stop discourage people from taking to two wheels, in the physical sense at least.
Those include cycle lanes that end abruptly, then reappear to direct riders onto poorly maintained shared footways where they must dodge road signs, and give way to motorised traffic before rejoining the road.
“We need to start asking ourselves questions – big ones like ‘what do we want the places in which we live to look like?’ and smaller ones like: ‘who are cycle lanes for?’,” explained Boardman.
“When we consider questions like these, I think the answers will lead us in one direction: we need more and better provision for people who want to travel by bike.
“When we have that, our towns and cities will be better places in which to live. It needs investment but the costs, of poor health caused by inactivity which are currently £4billion annually, mean the potential savings are huge.”
Martin Gibbs, Policy and Legal Affairs Director at British Cycling, added: “We’re truly world class in sporting terms and more and more people are riding bikes but to make a step change in every-day cycling one of the decisions we need to make is that cycling will be built into our transport infrastructure and policies.”
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.