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British Cycling launches manifesto to transform Britain into “true cycling nation”

Monday 10th February 2014

British Cycling has launched a 10-point manifesto to transform Britain into a “true cycling nation” and to help the nation gain the equivalent of “almost one million extra healthy years of life over the next decade”.

The manifesto, Time to #ChooseCycling, details how and why British Cycling believes that national and local government should be prioritising cycling as a form of transport.

It cites new research commissioned by British Cycling from Cambridge University, which suggests that if people replaced just five minutes of the 36 minutes they spend (on average) each day in the car with cycling, there would be an almost 5% annual reduction in the health burden from “inactivity-related illnesses”.

The manifesto also says that if 10% of trips in England and Wales were made by bike, the savings to the NHS would be at least £250 million per year.

Chris Boardman, Olympic gold medallist and British Cycling’s policy adviser, said: “Britain is now one of the most successful cycling nations in the world. How can we be getting it so right in terms of elite success but still be failing to truly embed cycling as an everyday part of British culture?

“This research demonstrates that the impact of more cycling would have positive effects for everyone.

“In the 1970s, the Netherlands made a conscious choice to make cycling and walking their preferred means of transport. It is no coincidence that they are also one of the healthiest and happiest nations in the world.

“Local and national government needs to wake up and realise that cycling is the solution to so many of the major problems Britain is now facing.”

Chris Boardman is also today (10 Feb) giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry on cycling. He will make the case for tackling “dangerous HGVs” and ask Government to up its spending on cycling from £2 to £10 per head.

Dr James Woodcock, a senior researcher at Cambridge University’s Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), said: “Cycling is a great way for people to embed physical activity in their everyday lives. If we can get people to stay active throughout their lives then it can make a huge difference to their health.

“This research, based on scenarios for towns and cities in England and Wales, outside London, shows the potential for population health benefits from cycling.”

Click here to read the full British Cycling news release - the manifesto can also be downloaded from this link.

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Nigel,

Please feel free to express your opinion in any way you wish. However it remains an opinion, not fact. Your denial of facts is the argument more akin to climate change denial. Please consider these points: -

1. If you wish to reduce the incidents of cyclists injured by motor vehicles, then wouldn't an alteration of the hierarchy on our roads be more in order? To put the vulnerable road user first, rather than traffic flow. The slowing of motor vehicle traffic, the removal of cyclists from the main carriageway into their own space, the reimagining of junctions and roundabouts to Dutch or Danish standards?

2. All evidence points to hi viz (and helmets) being a red herring. Hi viz and helmet use has increased in this country over the last 20 years - yet so has RTCs involving cyclists. In your example the light would still be behind the cyclists, still keeping them in sillhouette, any light would also highlight the cyclists in dark.

Compare the Netherlands and Denmark with us. Are they getting it wrong by not insisting that cyclists wear hi viz? Is it simply a fluke that year on year their roads are safer than ours per km travelled?
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2

Nigel
I think another double standard. You don't want cyclists to be stylish. I guess that other vulnerable road users, the pedestrian, (even more vulnerable than a cyclist), can't be stylish either? But at the same time there's no problem with cars being stylish, fast, overweight, etc.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)
+1

Rod.
Of course I understand the sentiment that in principle things should be done so that people in ordinary clothes can be as safe as possible when cycling. However, considering they are the most vulnerable sector of road users I feel that in turn they should be doing all they can to enhance their own safety, and there is much more kit out there now a days to help them do that. So, I am sorry, but if people don't do all they can to make themselves conspicuous (including horse riders and motorcyclists) then I'm afraid my sympathy level for them in an RTA (OK it should be RTC!) is measurably less than it would otherwise be. I also fail (as per similar other comments) to understand why so many serious road riders seem more concerned about style (race colours and all of that) than about safety per se. It just doesn't make sense.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)
+6

Steve.
I note your comment but, let's put it this way. If they are in dark colours with the sun behind them they certainly will be black and could easily (and often do) blend with the background. However, if they are in high viz then they will principally be lighter in colour, and have a better chance of being seen, even if is just a possibility of the light catching that colour around the sides of their silhouette. You have to take the positive rather than negative view point and say, 'if it might do some good then it has to be worth doing it'. Sorry to be blunt and possibly a bit rude but, but to my mind this rationale and mind-set seems akin to that of of climate change deniers. In general having hi-viz on open roads makes such a quantum difference to being seen that I really am at a loss to understand the counter arguments, particularly from those seemingly actively involved in road safety.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (5) | Disagree (2)
+3

Nigel,
And on to bikes. Including the advocates of hi viz and helmets. Bear in mind in your original example, even if the cyclists were wearing hi viz, they would appear black against the sun.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (3) | Disagree (4)
-1

From Nigel: "I would like to get a lot of these academics involved in road safety in the car and see exactly what their own safety (or vulnerability) is on the road".
and "..it is primarily the responsibility of drivers to look out for those more vulnerable on the road... "

Good down to earth sentiments. Nice to see someone voicing them now and again.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (2)
0

Nigel
I confirm that I may have a "sense of humour". But if we do aspire to making cycling as ordinary and safe as places such as Netherlands, Denmark, etc, then shouldn't we be basing that on the idea that the "system" and "environment" control the vehicles in such a manner that cyclists (and pedestrians) can still be seen by drivers even when in normal everyday clothes?
Rod King 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
+1

I just wonder whether Rod King has a wry sense of humour here. It is the vehicles which do the killing and, in my book, it is primarily the responsibility of drivers to look out for those more vulnerable on the road. That doesn't of course, preclude cyclists doing what they can to maximise their own safety.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (3) | Disagree (2)
+1

Those who advocate cyclists wearing brightly coloured and fluorescent clothing so that they can be seen from within a car more easily should also consider it from a cyclist's perspective. It is motor vehicles which cyclists need to avoid and so many of those are painted in colours to blend into the background. Motor cycles as well have a random outline and may be difficult to spot.

When cyclists need to look over their shoulder to observe approaching vehicles wouldn't those vehicles be more conspicuous if they also were bright and fluorescent? Maybe even the front of the vehicle could be covered with polystyrene foam as well? Do I detect a double standard here?
Rod King 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (6)
-2

Steve.
Not necessarily. But, two points. One, it is said that statistics can prove whatever you want them to and, secondly, I would like to get a lot of these academics involved in road safety in the car and see exactly what their own safety (or vulnerability) is on the road. I would also like to do that with a lot of people who drive (sic!) road safety policies.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (1) | Disagree (2)
-1

So Nigel, you mean to say ignore the proven facts and go with perceived 'wisdom'?

Peter, you seem to miss the point. The daily commute shouldn't be the survival of the fittest, it should be simply about getting to work safely. If we could do so on a bicycle in this country, then we would be saving the NHS, and the tax payer millions. Urging people to go to the gym will not do anything about road safety. Making the roads fit for cycling will, not just for cyclists, but pedestrians and other road users.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (4) | Disagree (3)
+1

Steve, thank you for your enlightening comment. It is really worrying that something which blatantly increases conspicuousness should also be considered potentially dangerous. But I also worry that there might be so much scientific gobbdly-gook going around that it actually gets in the way of getting on with the job in hand and, in a way, making excuses for those who can't be bothered to concentrate enough and can therefore have their responsibility abrogated by some sort of scientific analysis. To me that's more like an escape clause for those who can't be bothered. As I have so often said if road safety put more emphasis on people being responsible for and taking ownership of their own safety then a lot of this so called inattentive blindness would quickly dissipate. In other words, more people should be held to account for their actions, or lack of them. It would be simple, and effective.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (5) | Disagree (4)
+1

Chris Boardman forgets to mention we are one of the most successful rowing nations in the world. As this is predominantly about sport, health and savings on the NHS why not take those 5 minutes a day in a gym or on a static bike in front of the TV? Sports cycling is not and will never be the same as the daily commute and we should not forget that. The commute is not a race nor competitive but a shared experience on crowded roads where the winners get to work on time.
Peter Westminster

Agree (9) | Disagree (2)
+7

Nigel,
High visibility clothing has been proven to increase the chances of motorists passing cyclists dangerously and too close. It also doesn't do anything to combat inattentive blindness - if a driver isn't looking for a cyclist they will not see a cyclist, regardless of what they are wearing. If a motorist cannot see a 6' high, 3' wide hazard on the road anyway, should they be put in the situation where they can kill them with their inattentiveness?

The issue is not blaming the cyclists for not wearing high visibility clothing, it is with the design of our roads that puts traffic flow and revenue from oil, diesel and petrol before the safety of people. Please also see the monkey business illusion on youtube for an illustration of inattentive blindness.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (6) | Disagree (8)
-2

Bob,
Believe it or not, more pedestrians are killed than cyclists. So by walking to school you are putting yourself in more danger than cycling.

Also, cyclists are far less likely to hit a pedestrian statistically. If they hit a pedestrian at 20 mph, then they will cause far more damage to themselves than to the pedestrian. Also, the damage to a pedestrian would be far less from a bicycle than a motor vehicle. I do agree though that cyclists should behave responsibly on the road, and that means slowing down when necessary. In this case they cannot be guilty of speeding, more of cycling furiously.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (3) | Disagree (8)
-5

I am all for anything which improves safety for cyclists. But why, oh why, isn't more emphasis put on using high viz (even in the picture at the top of this item). Today there were three cyclists in non-high viz travelling towards me (driving) with the sun behind them and they all appeared black. Put them in shadow area (i.e tree lined road) and they can be nigh on invisible. I remember when this cycling thing first really hit the press, after the Times (was it?) journalist was killed, even the pictures in the Times of currently famous cyclists didn't have high viz. Quite unbelievable when so much emphasis is being put on cycling safety.
Nigel ALBRIGHT

Agree (10) | Disagree (4)
+6

Further to Rod King's comment I was out on my motorcycle last Sunday early morning and the number of cyclists riding out was amazing.

I travelled through a number of 20 mph villages and, believe it or not, at 20 mph or lower. and behold what happened....three times I was overtaken by pedal cyclist exceeding that speed limit and some by quite a margin, some doing over 30 mph.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (12) | Disagree (1)
+11

I think the remark about the 1970s and the Netherlands says it all. Also if obesity is more prevalent nowadays in women and their average size has gone up to a size 16 perhaps more mothers should walk their children to school? A 20 minute fast walk twice daily would do the same as a few minutes cycling and more kids and women would be healthier. If they walked on the pavement they would be in less danger than a cyclist would be on the road. I wish people would not make scenarios out of assumptions and assumption out of scenarios. Not very scientific is it.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (9) | Disagree (0)
+9

Its good to see the positive references to wide-area 20mph limits.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (6) | Disagree (6)
0