CycleDigest September 2013

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Houses of Parliament
Parliament - scene of a four hour debate on cycling on 2 September
CTC's monthly round-up of campaigning news
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From the editor

The 'Get Britain Cycling' report, published in April and informed by evidence from expert witnesses including CTC, was aired very positively in Parliament on 2 September.

Cycling has been debated in the House before, but this time it attracted more MPs than ever. What's more, they unanimously welcomed the report's recommendations, so political leadership has the momentum now, we hope, to make things better for cycling.

Political leadership is something that we'll never be ticking off our list, though. It - and enough funding to back it up - needs to keep going or we'll never meet the national target proposed by 'Get Britain Cycling' (the target, that is, that the Government says it would rather not have...).

Cherry Allan

CTC Campaigns

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MPs vote to ‘Get Britain Cycling’

A four-hour House of Commons debate on cycling on 2 September attracted over 100 MPs from across the political spectrum  –  and ended with a unanimous vote to welcome the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s report, 'Get Britain Cycling'.

While MP after MP spoke, a visible reminder of the strength of feeling outside Parliament was hard to miss, as 5,000 people circled the building in support of London Cycling Campaign’s ‘Space for Cycling’ ride.

It's time to end the stop-start approach that is getting in the way of progress and agree a cross-party, long-term commitment to cycling.”

Maria Eagle,
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, who set out an 8-point plan for cycling at the debate

Amongst its 18 recommendations, 'Get Britain Cycling' asks for a target to boost cycle use from 2% of trips at present to 10% by 2025 and 25% by 2050. It also calls for sustained funding for cycling of at least £10 per person annually, rising to £20.

For a sense of the spirit and focus of the debate as it unfolded – read CTC's Roger Geffen's live blog

See also:

DfT responds to 'Get Britain Cycling'

A few days before the debate, the Government/Department for Transport (DfT) published their official response to the 18 recommendations of the 'Get Britain Cycling' report. Much of it simply recapped what the Government's already done for cycling without making firm promises, but it did make a couple of encouraging announcements.

On road safety, for example, it said that the Sentencing Council (England and Wales) will review sentencing guidelines for the offences of causing death by careless driving and causing death or serious injury by dangerous driving. CTC believes that this is a good opportunity to make lenient sentencing a thing of the past and to ensure that dangerous drivers are banned from the roads. 

The Government also said that the DfT is updating its guidance on quiet out-of-hours deliveries by HGVs to reduce the number of goods vehicles on the busiest urban streets at the busiest times.

Although constructive about most of 'Get Britain Cycling’s' recommendations, the Government rejected the idea of a national target for cycling, saying that local authorities should set their own. The national target, however, stood the test of the subsequent Parliamentary debate, and MPs voted to endorse it.

The Government was also not keen on the appointment of a single national champion for cycling. When questioned about it at the debate, Transport Minister Norman Baker said that championing cycling needed to be “owned across Government by all Departments”.

Talking of ‘cycling czars,’ London’s ‘Cycling Commissioner’ Andrew Gilligan seems to have benefited personally from the activity.

Timely lorry safety crackdown for London

A tougher approach on lorries in London and elsewhere is long overdue, so CTC has welcomed official moves to tackle the disproportionate risk that these vehicles pose to cyclists in the capital.

The commitments cover lorry design and safety equipment, driver training and taking direct action on dangerous vehicles.

When the Freight Transport Association reacted by stating that “Tougher standards for cyclists' behaviour” were needed, CTC wrote to them pointing out that HGV drivers are more often the party at fault in collisions with cyclists.

Other measures that CTC would like to see seriously considered include bans on lorry traffic in busy urban areas. This, and other options, are discussed in our briefing on Goods Vehicles.


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