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