February 2012

‘Cities fit for Cycling’ campaign

The Times #Cyclesafe campaign has made a huge impact at UK level …

The campaign was prompted by a dreadful crash between a Times reporter, cycling to work, and an HGV, resulting in serious injury.  

The campaign has greatly raised the profile with UK decision-makers of cycling as a mode of travel: one which needs to be boosted for reasons of transport, public health and environment, and one which needs far higher consideration in transport policy at all levels.  Of course, only time will tell if the campaign will bring serious government action – it is worth remembering that one of the first acts of the new UK government in 2011 was to abolish the very successful Cycling England.*

The campaign has uncovered a remarkably widespread acknowledgement of what cycle campaigners have long known – that the real problem lies in the road and traffic environment, and that should be the priority for action.   Rather than the old story of non-cycling decision-makers calling for every cyclist to don armour, educate themselves, teach themselves good manners, etc, etc.

Although most policy affecting cycling is now the responsibility of the Scottish rather than the UK government, politicians in Scotland are influenced by what is happening elsewhere and by the trend of general public opinion.   And of course some relevant matters do still come under the UK government.

You can pledge your support for the campaign [over 25,000 people have done so] at the campaign website.   Also, if any of the issues raised particularly concern you, email your MSPs (you have roughly 7 of them!) or your one MP (depending on whether you think it is a Scottish or a UK issue) – you can find them at www.writetothem.com.

Here are some interesting links on the Times’s campaign…

The Times’s campaign website

Road Danger Reduction Forum – a thoughtful commentary on the campaign and its 8-point manifesto, showing areas where the campaign falls short

UK Parliament Debate on the campaign 23.2.12 – attended by 76 MPs (an excellent turnout for Thursday afternoon, when MPs are often heading back to their constituencies) including Spokes members Mark Lazarowicz MP and Sheila Gilmore MP.   Later: There’s also now a very user-friendly transcript of the debate, with useful links and mugshots, at theyworkforyou.com.

Cyclists in the City blog commentary on the Parliamentary debate

CTC commentary on the Parliamentary debate

Guardian Cycling Blog – article on what the campaign may mean for the future.


* The main Cycling England website resources are being kindly maintainted and updated by CILT.   Also, note that the UK government trumpets its ‘£560m’ Local Sustainable Transport Fund as an effective replacement for Cycling England’s work.  However, this fund is to cover all forms of local sustainable transport, and is not annual but is for 4 years – so it is likely to represent a significant cut in cycling investment by the UK government.




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