The Government needs to show long-term and committed leadership at the very highest level if Britain is to become a nation of cyclists, a parliamentary inquiry into getting more people on to bikes has heard (Guardian).
Currently around 2% of Britons use a bike as their main mode of transport, one of the lowest levels of all 27 EU nations. MPs and peers were told that catching up continental neighbours on cycling levels will require the sort of strategic, non-partisan planning seen on other major transport infrastructure projects, such as high-speed rail lines.
Phillip Darnton from the Bicycle Association trade group, said: “We will not create a cycling culture until we have leadership that makes it clear this is a commitment for the long term. This is not a party-political thing.”
The commitment needs to be like that made in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands several decades ago, Mr Darnton said. “We need to take that stance and no political party ever questions it again. We could start tomorrow if we wanted,” he added.
The inquiry, called Get Britain Cycling, was set up by the all-party parliamentary cycling group in an attempt to turn enthusiasm for cycling following the Olympics and Bradley Wiggins’s Tour de France win into an increase in the numbers using bikes for regular transport. Another key impetus for the inquiry was a concerted and energetic cycle safety campaign set up by the Times after one of its reporters was severely and permanently injured while cycling.
The first of six evidence sessions saw input from cycling groups such as the national campaign group the CTC, British Cycling and Sustrans, experts including Mr Darnton, academics specialising in cycle use and media including the Guardian and the Times.
Click here to read the full Guardian report.