A new All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group report published last week (24 April) includes an aspiration to increase cycle use from less than 2% of journeys in 2011, to 10% and 25% of all journeys by 2025 and 2050 respectively.
The report – Get Britain Cycling – calls for road-space reallocation, more cash for cycling, and a national cycling champion to lead a drive for the increase in cycling.
It also calls for 20mph speed limits to become standard in urban areas and for lower speed limits on many rural roads. It also says that all children should be given the chance to learn the skills of on-road cycling, at primary and secondary school.
According to the report, more of the transport budget should be spent on supporting cycling, with an initial rate of at least £10 per person per year, rising to £20.
The report – sponsored by The Times and the Bicycle Association – is based on the six week ‘Get Britain Cycling’ inquiry, which started to hear evidence in January 2013.
The Times’ cycling campaign led to the creation of the inquiry and the newspaper is seeking to capitalise on the report’s launch to get 100,000 signatures on a petition on the Government’s petition website.
The inquiry heard evidence from more than 100 individuals and organisations, including cycling organisations, the Automobile Association, and a wide range of Government departments and ministers.
More cycling will lead to reduced congestion, environmental benefits and healthier citizens but to achieve this leadership is needed right from the top, the report concludes.
Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and co-chair of the group, said: “Cycling has huge advantages – it is fast, safe, healthy, efficient, reliable, environmentally sound, and fun. We all benefit when people choose to cycle.
“One of the most consistent points made was that lower speed limits reduce the number and severity of collisions for both pedestrians and cyclists – we should heed that advice. It will improve safety and reduce the fear of cycling that too many feel.
“This generation of politicians has the chance to be long remembered for having a vision for cycling that includes us all. Put simply, Britain needs to re-learn how to cycle. This report sets out how this can be done.”
Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North and co-chair of the group, said: “Too often cyclists are just an afterthought. When collisions happen, the police and courts let the victims down with sentences that do not fit the harm caused – this must be changed.
“The real test of whether something is taken seriously in Government is who leads on it – and that means the Prime Minister has to take that lead.”
Jon Snow, journalist and broadcaster, said: “At last parliament is pedalling the talk and recognising the urgent need for political leadership on actions for cycling. Whichever party leader now seizes this opportunity will reap dividends.”
Click here to view the report.