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Government announces record cycling investment - but is it enough?

Thursday 31st January 2013

Norman Baker, transport minister, has announced details of a £62 million investment in cycling, but British Cycling says it is not enough to get cycling at the levels seen in countries like Holland and Denmark.

The investment is the largest ever allocation of funding for cycling in Britain. The aim is to make travelling on two wheels more attractive for people throughout England.

Over the last 12 months the Government has pledged that £107 million will be made available for cycling during this Parliament. Yesterday (30 January), the Government confirmed the allocation of £57 million from this fund.

Up to three cities will benefit from a fund of up to £30 million to make cycling easier and safer for people in urban areas; up to £12 million is being made available to local authorities working in partnership with National Parks; £15 million is being allocated to the Community Linking Places Fund; and funding will be given towards a new £500,000 cycle hub at Brighton station.

In addition to the £57 million allocation, £5 million will be added to the fund already earmarked to tackle dangerous junctions, with allocations to follow in the near future.

Norman Baker said: “We are serious about cycling, as this latest wave of funding shows.

“Anyone who rides a bike will know it is important to keep the impetus going and this record level of funding will provide a shot in the arm to cycling in England.

“Our ambition is to get people cycling more safely and more often and today’s announcements will help us to make that vision a reality.”

British Cycling welcomed the funding package, but said that it is not enough if Britain is to match cycling levels seen in countries like Holland and Denmark.

Martin Gibbs, British Cycling’s director for policy and legal affairs, said: “We welcome this development, and it’s a credit to Norman Baker that he is securing this increased funding for cycling infrastructure - but what we need is long term, sustained investment and a strategy to put cycling at the heart of transport policy.

“The total funding package works out at less than £1 pound per head of the population; the Dutch spend £25 pounds per head per year, and have been doing so for decades. We need to match that level of funding to get Britain cycling.”

Click here for more information on the DfT investment, or click here for British Cycling’s response.

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On Wednesday 20's Plenty for Us was invited to give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group of MPs in their investigation into how to "Get Britain Cycling".

For those who are interested, here is the link to our Briefing Sheet on what we said.

http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/BriefingSheets/Total_20_-_A_Key_Intervention_to_Get_Britain_Cycling.pdf
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

Duncan, Idris:

So you think that existing cyclists and pedestrians should continue to be exposed to completely unneccessary danger?
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (1) | Disagree (5)
-4

I agree with Duncan, not just in terms of cycling, but in general - that public (our) money spent by government in an attempt to persuade people to do what they would otherwise not do (or vice versa) might as well be torn up, burned or sent disguised as aid to the Swiss bank or some dreadful dictator. However, having grown up in hilly Cardiganshire thinking how nice it would be to live somewhere flat, I found the opposite - it means pedalling all the time. Not good.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (5) | Disagree (4)
+1

Of course one of the big problems when comparing cycle use in the UK to the rest of the world is a simple fact of geography. Not a lot of people know that from Wormleighton Hill in Warwickshire the next highest ground to the East is the Ural mountains. All our major cities are built on a series of hills whereas most of the cities in Europe are built on flat plains. Simple analysis of the data shows that the flatter the city, the greater the number of cycles and vice versa.

The Public very quickly work this out for themselves without any Government intervention, so once again this huge sum will be utterly wasted.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (14) | Disagree (2)
+12

re "Last year 47 people were killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle while they were on the pavement. 2 by a bicycle." I will look at the data to see how that compares in relation to miles travelled.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (3) | Disagree (8)
-5

Tim: My 10 year old grandson does not have a "glass". Neither do 25% of the households in the town I live in. I can't remember anyone saying that "glasses" should be banned, just that they should be managed in a manner that minimises damage to people.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (2) | Disagree (9)
-7

I'm afraid that many posters on here have missed the point entirely.

Roads have been designed primarily for motor vehicles in this country for decades. Again it is intrinsic in the ideology of traffic engineers and planners that anybody who wants to go anywhere must be driving a car. Bicycles and pedestrians have long been neglected.

Last year 47 people were killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle while they were on the pavement. 2 by a bicycle. You will find that the majority of collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles were the fault of the motorist - not the cyclist. All you have to do is look at the facts.

As for a fund to pay for it all. Good idea. Perhaps the government should stop subsidising motorists as well.

I'm all for better policing, maybe that would be the answer. However we are never going to get it when the current police force turn a blind eye to drivers on mobile phones, driving and parking on footways, speeding and other traffic offences.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (4) | Disagree (10)
-6

Yes, we still prefer adversarial tribalism to any kind of shared understanding. Motorists should recognise that every car journey transferred to bike is one less obstruction to their passage. Cyclists would do well to remember that many of the goods and services they like to access on their bikes depend on motor transport. Let us not compare ourselves to countries that established widespread cycle usage before the prosperity that enables us to own cars. In the world of glass half full/half empty I'm just glad to have a glass and will be making best use of it.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

Agree (17) | Disagree (0)
+17

Rather than relying on anecdotes regarding cyclists and red lights, perhaps it would be better to refer to the TRL report at:
http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/reports_publications/trl_reports/cat_road_user_safety/report_collisions_involving_pedal_cyclists_on_britain_s_roads_establishing_the_causes_.htm

Here you will find that cyclists and red lights hardly get a mention.

The idea of banning particular types of vehicle based on their propensity to cause collisions and casualties is interesting and would have far reaching consequences. Maybe posters should be careful of what they wish for.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (4)
+2

If bicycles were a new invention today I believe they would be banned as too dangerous on health and safety grounds. My experience of cyclists is that they believe themselves above the law, in the last few days I have been almost run over twice by cyclists, one ran a red light at a crossing and the other cycled at speed on a pavement round a blind corner. They should be banned, not subsidised.
Bobbio Chiswell Green

Agree (11) | Disagree (12)
-1

Shock horror. Road junctions designed primarily for motor traffic. How incompetent can the authorities be? As for "those creating the danger", from what I see many accidents involving cyclists are due to the behaviour of cyclists including ignoring red lights and squeezing into gaps they shouldn't. Sadly.

Anyone notice the report that cycle lanes lead to more accidents? Entirely logical - drivers assume cyclists stay within lanes, but they do not. Law of Unintended Consequences again.

The reports Rod referred to about cycling cutting deaths by providing exercise do not compare like with like. A cycling accident could kill today, exercise might extend life in 10, 20, 30, 40 years - unless for other reasons clogs are popped sooner - like catching pneumonia on a bike. Each to his own, the trade-offs are a matter of choice, I'm staying dry and warm.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (12) | Disagree (15)
-3

Bob: The culture has already changed, whilst it seems some are still in the 20th Century. The Dutch had the "End the child murder" in the 70s, the Swedish their "Vision Zero" in 1990, and here in GB with one of the worst records for cyclist and pedestrian danger in Europe and terrible blighting of communities with and over-reliance on motor vehicles for personal transport then things are changing.

Of course not everyone notices, sees or is keen on this, but they are a decreasing minority.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (11)
-7

Rod: I wasn't talking about the politics of the past but the differences in development of our culture and mindset concerning road transport, jobs, regional development etc over a period of 60 years or so. Which is very different from that which has occured elsewhere in Europe.

Perhaps it would speed the process up if we ripped up all the tarmac in our towns and cleaned up the underlaying cobbles. Then at least we would start looking like a European country.
bob Craven Lancs

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)
+12

Hugh

Just go to the web page and choose the "SiteMap". Here you can see the facilities in a Classified Index and identify all the examples at junctions.

The classic way to design junctions seems to have been to design the junction for motor vehicles and then afterwards see how cyclists can fit in as well. It's usually a compromise with cyclists often being redirected to cross roads at right angles to traffic where they are on the periphery of drivers vision and unexpected.

Throw in a few shared use facilities and "drivers dismount" signs and I think you get the picture.

In my opinion all traffic and safety engineers should be encouraged to use cycles for all local site visits and local trips so that they fully understand the needs of cyclists.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (2) | Disagree (13)
-11

Rod: Yes I can see there are some examples of badly planned/built cycle facilities on the highway which need looking at, but you said 'junctions' and I presumed you meant conventional road junctions, which is why I questioned it. These look like cases where Councils have tried to shoe-horn in cycle facilities on existing road layouts - not very succesfully I agree.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Bob. I recently visited Gdansk in Poland. A place which has only had the advantages of democracy for about 15 years. Already their cycle and pedestrian infrastucture is way ahead of ours in terms of quality and quantity.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (2) | Disagree (8)
-6

Hugh. Have a look at some of these examples and see if you also think that there is a degree of incompetency.

http://tinyurl.com/cyclefom
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (0) | Disagree (7)
-7

Rod: Could you clarify 'badly designed junctions' please? Do you mean 'badly designed' per se, suggesting incompetency, or something else and in what way would they be 'corrected'?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (1) | Disagree (0)
+1

It's going to take a long, long time to emulate other European countries who haven't had the same advantages or gone down the same route of traffic, transport and road communications that we have done since the 2nd World War.

We can't turn back the clock 60 years and we can't change society's attitudes overnight but that's what some cyclists, charities and other interested organisations that represent some (a few) of the cycling fraternity want.

As stated monies could be better spent on infrastructure without the constant pandering to those who will never be satisfied no matter what we do.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (14) | Disagree (2)
+12

Sorry Idris, but you simply don't get it.

It's not just about the current cyclists but also the potential cyclists.

And much of that money is being spent on correcting badly designed junctions so that drivers don't end up killing cyclists.

On the basis of "the polluter pays" then the cost of protecting vulnerable road users is better associated with those ceating the danger rather than those in danger.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (13) | Disagree (12)
+1

Too little to have any statistically meaningful effect. But how much money would, how much is enough?

But more importantly, at the expense of what other deserving causes? There is after all, a finite amount of money.

If it's £1 per head of population, how many cyclists are there? 1m? So it's £6 per head for them. If they like cycling, why not start a Fund and double or treble that £60m out of their petty cash?
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield

Agree (12) | Disagree (14)
-2

Why not invest some of that £107m in proper roads policing which would benefit all road users? Or once we have segregated cycle lanes will those on the roads just be left to fight it out?
Dave, Leeds

Agree (14) | Disagree (1)
+13

"Is it enough?" It seems those who shout the loudest get the money.
Trevor Heywood, Stockport

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)
+11