'Uplifting' debate paves the way for safer cycling
Scores of MPs attended a parliamentary debate yesterday (23 February) to urge the Government to take action on a safer cycling manifesto promoted by The Times (Press Association & The Times).
Politicians from across the political spectrum packed into Westminster to debate cycling and encourage the Government to take action to make roads safer for cyclists.
The debate focused on British Cycling’s Road Safety Manifesto and The Times’ campaign for cycle safety.
The Times described the debate as ‘uplifting’ and gave it front-page coverage and a double page spread inside the paper. It reported that Norman Baker, transport minister, suggested that every city should have a dedicated cycling commissioner to ‘press home reforms to make Britain’s roads safer’ for cyclists.
Mr Baker also said that the Government is looking at ways of improving motorists’ awareness of cycling safety and urged more local authorities to adopt 20mph speed limits in urban areas. During the debate MPs also called for more bike-only lanes and improved cycle training for children and adults.
Opening the debate, Julian Huppert, of the Liberal Democrats, said cycling was ‘fundamentally safe’ but that steps were necessary to ensure it was open to as many people as wanted to take part.
He said: “Despite the actual safety of cycling, 50% of the British public feel urban roads are unsafe to cycle on. The more people cycle the safer it is.
“It's not just about spending large amounts of cash, there are lots of small changes that will improve things for cycling. Some of this costs money but not actually a huge amount. To get to European standards, you need about £10 per per person per year.”
Conservative Oliver Colville pledged to get back on his bike if safety improvements were delivered.
He said: “One of the key issues is greater visibility, making sure bus lanes are easily identified and also making sure there is better lighting. We need louder hooters instead of those rather insipid little bells.”
Click here to read the full Press Association report.