MP wins commitment from government for safer cycling
February 22, 2012
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has won a commitment from the Prime Minister to make cycling safer and promote it ahead of his Westminster Hall debate tomorrow (Thursday, February 23).
David Cameron claimed that cyclists “take their life in their hands” riding in cities and he praised The Times ‘Cities fit for cycling campaign’ which will be supported by Julian during his debate.
Julian asked Mr Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons: “Will the Prime Minister commit the government to supporting the Times campaign, increase investment in cycling and take much greater steps to promote cycling across the country?”
Mr Cameron replied: “The Times campaign is an excellent campaign and I strongly support what they are trying to do.
“Anyone who had got on a bike, particularly in one of our busier cities knows that they are taking their life in their hands, so much so that we do need to do more to make cycling safer.
“The government is making it easier for councils to install mirrors at junctions, has invested £11 million for training for children and £15 million for better cycle routes and facilities across the country.
“If we want to encourage the growth we have seen in cycling in recent years we have got to get behind a campaign like this.”
Later Julian said: “I am delighted that the Prime Minister has given a commitment to make cycling safer.
“This government has gone a long way by investing in cycling but there is still much more that can be done. And there is no better time than in this year of the Olympics to take radical steps to promote cycling as our most efficient form of transport.”
During his debate tomorrow Julian will tell Parliament that for a long time cyclists have despaired at government policy which focuses on safety without improving it.
“With increasingly congested cities, more competition for resources and our health deteriorating – the need for investment in cycling has become more acute,” he says.
“We cannot miss this golden opportunity to create a safe, sustainable transport network. For too long cycling has been utterly undervalued and forced into decline.”
Julian is calling for:
- a substantial Increase in national spend on cycling infrastructure and good planning to ensure cycle facilities are integral to new developments;
- training and education for cyclists and drivers, particularly those driving heavy goods vehicles;
- rail franchise agreements to pay much closer attention to cyclists with secure cycle-parking, showers and proper ramps;
- a review of sentencing and prosecution with respect to accidents involving cyclists, and consider new measures such as proportionate liability;
- devolve powers regarding signage to local authorities as soon as possible.
And Julian will call on companies to play their part by installing showers and lockers which go a long way to promoting cycling which, in turn improves general wellbeing and productivity.
He said the cycle to work scheme works well but it should be extended and tax problems resolved.
“For years cyclists have worked from the bottom up to promote cycling and put it on the national agenda,” he says. “But the government must also do its part and take further action to promote cycling now.”