Cycle Campaign News July 2014
From the Editor
Cycling has most decidedly won the health argument - reports and academic papers on its physical benefits are rarely missing from our 'New Publications' section.
Persuading politicians of the theoretic need for adequate funding is likewise going well (see 'Headlines'), yet the Government is still to allocate serious, long-term cash on a remotely adequate scale. Also, in their bids for money for transport schemes, most Local Enterprise Partnerships in England seem to be demonstrating a marked preference for road projects over healthier and more sustainable options.
So, how do you hone your influencing skills or pool those you already have? Come to one of CTC's campaigner training days - the next is in Sheffield on 13 September (see 'Diary Dates' for details).
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A report on cycle safety from the House of Commons Transport Committee has endorsed many of the recommendations CTC made to the MPs’ inquiry back in February.
CTC particularly welcomes the Committee’s backing for:
- £10 a head for cycling per year (although we need this now, rather than waiting till 2020)
- a stronger focus on respect and understanding for more vulnerable road users in the driver training and testing process - with no driver allowed to gain a licence without awareness of cycling safety;
- cross-departmental leadership;
- collaboration between the Government, EU and the industry to improve vehicle design and the culture of safety in the construction industry; and
- the end to inadequate cycling infrastructure.
Photo: Inquiry witnesses Edmund King (AA), Chris Boardman (BC) and Roger Geffen (CTC)
£10 a head p.a., however, still seems a long way off for England, despite £64m revenue funding from the latest Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). Welcome as it is, this funding - together with matched local contributions - amounts to £2.75 per person, p.a. until 2021 for only around half of England's population. Even using DfT's generous estimate of the proportion of LSTF currently being spent on cycling (28%), this would mean cycling is set to receive just 80p from the fund per person for the next six years.
There are, of course, other sources of money for cycling, including some dedicated, capital schemes (e.g. Cycling Cities); and, more recently, a useful £15m from 2015-16 for cycle-rail improvements, typically more cycle parking at stations.
However, expanding existing roads, building new ones, plus other big transport projects are still where most of the serious cash is going: for instance, direct benefits for cycling were barely discernible in the £2bn-worth of ‘local growth deals’ proposed by the 39 Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs) - see ‘New Publications’ for Sustrans and the Campaign for Better Transport analysis.
A few LEP schemes, though, deserve to be mentioned in dispatches, e.g.: there’s £5.8m for Bodmin as Cornwall’s 'Cycling Town', and £6m for cycle infrastructure improvements associated with Birmingham’s Cycle Revolution.
CTC believes that to 'Get Britain Cycling', funding for it needs to be sustained, significant and readily available for the whole of the country, not just isolated patches.
Where’s LSTF money going? See CTC’s funding map.
CTC has analysed data from England and Wales showing that only 80% of motorists convicted of killing another road user have their licences taken away, compared to 94% ten years ago. This is the case, even though driving bans are mandatory for all causing death by driving offences.
Moreover, the data from the Ministry of Justice also show that the average length of a driving ban in fatal cases has plummeted from 42 months in 2003 to 21 months in 2013.
In CTC’s view, bans are not only an effective punishment, but also an important way of protecting the public from bad drivers. In order to have an impact, though, they need to be of sufficient length, imposed more frequently and accompanied by driver education and a full, thorough retest.