‘Let’s make cycling a central issue at the General Election’, says Ian Austin – press release

Cycling should be a central issue at the next election, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group will say tomorrow (Thursday).

Speaking at the opening of the 12th Cycle Show and “Love Cycling” Conference at the NEC in Birmingham, Labour MP Ian Austin will say 2015 is the moment to achieve a real breakthrough in government support for cycling.

Austin wants cycling campaign groups and the cycling industry to challenge political parties to sign up to pledges to invest in safer facilities and support other measures to promote cycling and get more people cycling, based on the Vote4Cycling campaign organised during the recent Australian election by former Tour de France rider Stephen Hodge.

The All Party Cycling Group recently published the “Get Britain Cycling” report with 18 recommendations to boost cycling from less than 2% journeys in 2011, to 10% in 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050.  It recommends that the government invests a larger share of the transport budget on measures to promote cycling such as more segregated cycle lanes and improved junctions, provide more training for cyclists, teach children to ride at school and support businesses who want to enable their staff to commute by bike. The full report can be read at: http://allpartycycling.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/get-britain-cycling1.pdf

Ian Austin said:

“Let’s start planning now to make cycling a really important issue at the next election”

“I have asked British Cycling, Sustrans, the CTC and the Bicycle Association to draw up proposals to make cycling a central issue at the next election.”

“Wouldn’t it be great to have a high-profile campaign like the Australians?”

“We can use the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling recommendations to develop clear demands and call on the political parties to sign up to them, let’s challenge all the parties to produce manifestos for cycling, with detailed pledges about the investment they will earmark, and the improvements they will make to get more people cycling.

“Let’s organise hustings on cycling and mobilise cyclists, local campaigns, clubs and groups around the country, support them and equip them with the resources they need to meet their local candidates and demand they pledge to support cycling too.”

“The next election is the moment we can achieve a real breakthrough and get the changes we want to see to promote cycling in Britain”

 

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‘Implement the recommendations now’ 100 MPs tell Parliament – press release

‘IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS NOW’ 100 MPs TELL PARLIAMENT DURING BEST EVER ATTENDED DEBATE ON CYCLING

The Get Britain Cycling recommendations received unanimous support from Parliament with around 100 MPs attending last night’s four hour long Parliamentary debate on cycling – the best ever attended on the issue in living memory.

The report’s key recommendations – including putting cycling at the heart of transport policy, sustained investment of at least £10 per head, improving HGV safety, reviewing the justice system and appointing a national cycling champion – were all debated at length and speeches were made by over 70 MPs.

Commenting on the debate, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, Julian Huppert MP, who proposed the motion said:

“For decades, governments have not done enough to support cycling, and while the steps taken by this government are welcome, particularly the support from the Cycling Minister Norman Baker, there is far more still to do. This Government should do more to implement our recommendations, and I would like all parties to adopt these recommendations for their next manifestos. My own party, the Liberal Democrats, will be discussing this at our party conference in two weeks.

We need year-on-year funding and a change of mind-set to put cycling at the forefront of planning and design if we are to see real change. The time has come for governments and all politicians to move from warm words to action.”

Ian Austin MP, the other Co-Chair said:

“Last night was an incredible moment for cycling in this country. This fact that over 100 MPs attended to highlight the issues that matter to their constituents shows the massive impact that cycling is having in this country. This debate was tremendously supported and shows the consensus on this issue across all parties.

We should use the inquiry and the debate to drive cycling up the agenda. Let us make cycling an election issue, with local cyclists getting candidates to sign pledges and with the parties competing to produce the best manifesto for cycling. Let us continue the campaign to get Britain cycling.”

Another theme that emerged from last night’s debate was the need for cross-government collaboration so that all departments are committed to the same action plan. Holland, Denmark and Germany were all cited as examples of where governments are getting it right. The UK government’s recent £77 million funding announcement was welcomed but MPs said the level of funding should be sustained over more than two years and that it should go to all areas rather than just the eight successful cities.

Implementing 20mph speed limits was also raised as an issue. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP said: “We need to completely change our priorities in relation to speed to get as many people cycling as possible.”

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Maria Eagle MP, last night launched Labour’s eight point plan on cycling, including a commitment to look at minimum standards for HGV safety requirements. “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,” Eagle said.

Speaking for the government, Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, talked MPs through the government’s response to the Get Britain Cycling report, saying: “I believe that we have the most pro-cycling Government that the country has ever had, and we are determined to go even further. Cycling is good for the environment, good for individual health, and good for the economy. It is good for the environment, because it cuts carbon emissions, noise and air pollution… This government takes cycling very seriously and will make further progress”

The Get Britain Cycling inquiry’s report, published on 24 April, made several recommendations for the government, including endorsing a target of 10 per cent of all journeys to be made by bike by 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050; and calls on the government to show strong political leadership, including an annual Cycle Action Plan and sustained funding for cycling of at least £10 per head.

For more information about the Get Britain Cycling inquiry, visit: http://allpartycycling.org/

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“One in ten of all journeys should be by bike” – press release and links to the reports

A landmark report on the future of cycling in Britain calls for a national cycling champion to lead a drive for 10 per cent of all journeys in Britain to be by bike by 2025.

More of the transport budget should be spent on supporting cycling, at an initial rate of at least £10 per person per year, increasing as cycle levels increase, says the report by British Parliamentarians.

The report of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group inquiry ‘Get Britain Cycling’ also calls for 20mph speed limits to become standard in urban areas and lower speed limits on many rural roads. It also says that all children should be given the chance to learn the skills of road cycling, at primary and secondary school.

The group’s report, published today (24 April) follows extensive public evidence from over 100 individuals and organisations, including cycling organisations, the Automobile Association, and a wide range of government departments and ministers.

It is both possible and necessary to expand the role of cycling in the nation’s transport and social life, says the group. This will lead to reduced congestion, environmental benefits and healthier citizens.

The aim is increase cycle use from less than 2 per cent of journeys in 2011, to 10 per cent of all journeys in 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050.

For this to happen, leadership is needed right from the top, the MPs and Peers conclude. They call on the Government to appoint a National Cycling Champion to advocate for cycling across all departments and externally.

Key recommendations include:

• More of the transport budget should be spent on supporting cycling, at a rate initially set to at least £10 per person per year, and increasing as cycling levels increase

• Cycling should be considered at an earlier stage in all planning decisions, whether transport schemes or new houses or businesses

• More use should be made of segregated cycle lanes, learning from the Dutch experience

• Urban speed limits should generally be reduced to 20 mph

• Just as children learn to swim at school they should learn to ride a bike

• The Government should produce a detailed cross-departmental Cycling Action Plan, with annual progress reports

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and Co-Chair of the group, said: ‘Cycling has huge advantages – it is fast, safe, healthy, efficient, reliable, environmentally sound, and fun. We all benefit when people choose to cycle.

‘One of the most consistent points made was that lower speed limits reduce the number and severity of collisions for both pedestrians and cyclists – we should heed that advice. It will improve safety and reduce the fear of cycling that too many feel.

‘This generation of politicians has the chance to be long remembered for having a vision for cycling that includes us all. Put simply, Britain needs to re-learn how to cycle. This report sets out how this can be done.’

Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North and Co-Chair of the group said: ‘Too often, cyclists are just an afterthought. When collisions happen, the police and courts let the victims down, with sentences that do not fit the harm caused – this must be changed.

‘The real test of whether something is taken seriously in Government is who leads on it – and that means the Prime Minister has to take that lead.

‘With the excitement of the Olympics and Tour de France last year, cycling has captured the public imagination and is ready to grow. Our proposals will make that happen, and get Britain Cycling.’

Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and treasurer of the group said: ‘Cycling saves you money, improves your fitness and your quality of life. Please help us to make it safer for everyone by lobbying your MP to support cycling and most of all by joining us on your bike to Get Britain Cycling’.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and vice chair of the group said: ‘In Hackney strong political leadership has shown what can be done with Hackney topping the league tables for journeys by bike in London. We now need that leadership nationally.’

Journalist and broadcaster Jon Snow said ‘At last Parliament is pedaling the talk and recognising the urgent need for political leadership on actions for cycling. Whichever Party Leader now seizes this opportunity, will reap dividends.

Cycling is no longer an eccentric past time, but an urgent day to day need with massive potential, and positive outcomes for transport, health, and economic efficiency. Dare we think Ministerial action on this excellent report?’

The President of the Automobile Association, Edmund King, said ‘If the recommendations in Get Britain Cycling are followed through it should be the catalyst for change to put cycling on the front foot. The clear vision is to change cycling from a ‘minority sport’ to a mainstream mode of travel.

Currently 18% of AA members cycle regularly but if these recommendations become reality we could see these numbers double. We now need leadership to match this vision. Drivers and cyclists are often the same people and they should all welcome this report.’

British Cycling’s Chris Boardman, said ‘The benefits of getting more people to cycle in terms of health and improving the places in which we live are clear. We need to be ambitious and set ourselves quantifiable targets to increase the number of people on bikes. Only then will we have a yardstick against which we can measure our every action and policy. This is how we go about winning gold medals at British Cycling because we know it is the only way to be successful.’

The Summary & Recommendations: Get Britain Cycling

Phil Goodwin’s full report: Get Britain Cycling_Goodwin Report

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ACPO clairfy their position on 20mph speed limits

This is verbatim a letter that was sent to the APPCG co-chairs from the ACPO ‘Lead on Roads Policing’, Suzette Davenport, Chief Constable, Gloucestershire Constabulary

 

Julian Huppert MP and Ian Austin MP
Co-chairs
All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group
House of Commons, London SW1A 1AA

 

Dear Mr Huppert and Mr Austin

Clarification of the ACPO position on 20 miles per hour speed limits

I write further to the recent All‐Party Parliamentary Cycling group evidence session on ‘Get Britain Cycling’. ACC Mark Milsom represented the ACPO roads policing portfolio to address the group’s questions from a policing perspective.

Following a very specific line of questioning on the subject, we believe the police service position on the issue 20 mph speed limits requires further clarification. For accuracy, we would be grateful if you would reflect this correspondence in written evidence for your eventual report.

We can clearly state that it is incorrect to say that police officers are not enforcing 20mph speed limits.

20mph zones are predominantly introduced in residential areas where road safety has been raised as an issue by those who live locally. The approach of neighbourhood policing teams in every community is built around ensuring that local crime and disorder issues and concerns are identified, so that a police force delivers an appropriate policing response. This applies to enforcement of 20mph zones as to any other area of policing.

Police and Crime Commissioners are now responsible for setting strategic policing priorities for each police force and in areas where 20mph zones are a local concern, may include enforcement within local policing plans.

In most cases, 20 mph limits will follow Department of Transport guidance and include ‘road calming’ features such as speed bumps or traffic islands designed to slow traffic. Wherever possible, we agree with the Department of Transport that 20mph zones should be ‘self‐enforcing’ through the use of such features. The guidance states:

“Successful 20 mph zones and 20 mph speed limits are generally self‐enforcing, i.e. the existing conditions of the road together with measures such as traffic calming or signing, publicity and information as part of the scheme, lead to a mean traffic speed compliant with the speed limit.

To achieve compliance there should be no expectation on the police to provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity, unless this has been explicitly agreed.”

ACPO speed enforcement guidelines (attached to this letter) include thresholds for enforcement across all speed limits, intended to underpin a consistent policing approach. Within that framework local police forces will take a responsible and proportionate approach to enforcement of 20mph limits based on their assessment of risk to individuals, property and the seriousness of any breach. Where drivers are regularly and wilfully breaking the law we would expect that officers will enforce the limit and prosecute offenders.
I trust that this sets out our position clearly. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Yours faithfully
Suzette Davenport
Chief Constable, Gloucestershire Constabulary
ACPO Lead for ROADS POLICING

Gloucestershire Constabulary
Force Headquarters, No 1 Waterwells
Waterwells Drive, Quedgeley
Gloucester. GL2 2AN

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‘Political leadership is the most important factor in getting Britain cycling’, says Jon Snow – press release

“The politician that takes leadership on cycling and really revolutionises it will leave a legacy for generations,” journalist and broadcaster Jon Show told the final session of the Get Britain Cycling inquiry yesterday.

Jon Snow gives evidence to the Get Britain Cycling Inquiry

Jon Snow gives evidence to the Get Britain Cycling Inquiry

Snow, who is also President of the CTC, also told the inquiry that one thing the government could do to transform cycling is “make it compulsory for cycling provision to be included in all new road schemes.” Transport Minister Stephen Hammond – who also appeared at the inquiry – was sympathetic to this point.

The sixth and final session of the Get Britain Cycling inquiry covered a range of issues including hearing from the Mayor of London’s new Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, an expert from the Dutch Cycling Embassy, the Crown Prosecution Service and two government ministers.

Summing up the third session, co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, Ian Austin MP, said:

“Yesterday was a fitting end to the inquiry’s evidence sessions. The debates covered political will, sentencing, London’s plan for the next four years, what is happening in Wales and, most importantly – we heard from two government ministers about how seriously they are taking our mission to get Britain cycling. Everyone involved in all areas of local and national government – including transport, health, the environment – has a role to play in stepping up to this challenge. But Jon Snow’s comment about how political leadership from the very top is key is a message that really resonates and brings us full circle from the first session. I’m pleased to hear that the government is going to take our findings seriously, treating them like a Select Committee report, and I look forward to publishing our recommendations next month.”

Two government ministers from the Department for Transport – Stephen Hammond and Norman Baker – agreed with the inquiry that cycling needs to be considered as a “mainstream form of transport.” Baker said that cross government meetings are happening and that this has led to “a greater understanding and commitment on cycling, including significant interest from the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister.” Stephen Hammond also agreed that it would be “sensible” for cycling to be incorporated into plans for new roads. Both ministers talked about the responsibilities of local authorities to encourage and promote cycling. Baker said that “all too often cycling is dealt with by a cycling officer who is considered junior. This needs to change.” Hammond also spoke about the need for the Highways Agency to include provision for cycling in all transport schemes.

The sixth session of the All Party Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling inquiry also focused on London’s plans to revolution cycling in the capital. The Mayor’s new Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, was careful not to reveal too much of the Mayor’s plans which will officially be announced on 7 March. However, he did reveal that there are plans to be spending £18 a head or £145 million a year on cycling by 2016. Gilligan also spoke about the need to change the perception of cyclists. He said: “the key thing is to broaden the amount of people cycling. The typical cycling is male, white and employed.”

Isabel Dedring, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, admitted that while London “does consider the effects on cycling of new schemes, it isn’t working properly.” Dedring said this policy needs to be embedded at Transport for London, also adding that they are “looking at” putting restricting in place for HGV movements in the capital.

Wales’ “radical approach” to transform cycling was also presented to the inquiry by the Welsh Assembly’s Minister for Transport, Carl Sargeant. The Minister talked about the Assembly’s Active Travel Bill and said that he wants “walking and cycling to become the norm – that means a shift in culture.”

Witnesses from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) talked about sentencing in cases where cyclists and other vulnerable road users are hurt or killed on the road. ACPO’s Mark Milsom said that there is an “issue around sentencing for death by dangerous driving offences” before admitting to the inquiry that ACPO isn’t currently telling the police to enforce 20mph speed limits. The CPS’ Nick Hunt said that sentencing is “a matter for the courts.” When presented with the example of the high profile case of the motorist who killed cyclist Tom Ridgway and was given a £35 fine, Hunt said he wasn’t aware of this case.

The inquiry also heard from experts in Europe about the lessons the UK can learn from countries like Holland and Germany. The European Cyclist’s Federation, Kevin Mayne, told the inquiry that he has visited 12 countries around Europe to observe their attitude to cycling. He concluded that the Dutch are “uniquely good” while the UK is “uniquely bad.” Roelof Wittink from the Dutch Cycling Embassy said “It’s not about the number of cars, it’s about focusing on the people in a city who are shopping or socialising We need to aim for an optimal share of cycling as a form of transport.”

Commenting on the session, APPCG Co-Chair Julian Huppert MP, said:

““We need firm leadership from government and a dedicated funding stream if we are to make significant progress in cycle safety and accessibility, so it was entirely appropriate that today we heard from the ministers that can make that happen. It is only by making significant improvements to our infrastructure, introducing clear and enforceable regulations to protect cyclists, and investing in training programmes that we will really start to make a difference.”

The Get Britain Cycling inquiry’s report, including recommendations for the government, will be published on the 24th of April.

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‘Get Britain Cycling’ – sixth evidence session, live blog

Click Here

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Ministers from the DfT and Wales, to attend cycling Inquiry – press release

Witnesses will answer questions on the government’s role in the cycling debate, including the need for leadership, cross-departmental cooperation and ambitious targets when the sixth and final session of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group Inquiry is held on Monday 4th March in Parliament.

Norman Baker MP and Stephen Hammond MP will represent the Department for Transport, and Carl Sargeant AM will represent the Welsh Assembly. Jon Snow from Channel 4 News and the Mayor of London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan will also give evidence.

The ‘Get Britain Cycling’ Inquiry – which is backed by the major cycling organisations – is seeking views on how the government can help get more people cycling by making it safer and more accessible.

There will be a live audio feed at www.spreaker.com/user/allpartycycling and a live blog at www.allpartycycling.org/news

Wednesday’s session will be attended five panels of witnesses including:

  • Norman Baker MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport
  • Stephen Hammond MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Transport
  • Carl Sargeant AM, the Minister for Social Justice and Local Government from the Welsh Assembly Government
  • Jon Snow
  • Andrew Gilligan, Cycling Commissioner for London
  • Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor of London
  • The Association of Chief Police Officers
  • The Crown Prosecution Service
  • European Cycling Federation
  • Dutch Cycling Embassy

The session will be held in Portcullis House in The Boothroyd Room between 14:00 and 16:00.

The Group will produce a report of the Inquiry’s findings, which will be presented to government in April 2013.

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