‘Uplifting’ debate paves the way for safer cycling

09.55 | 24 February 2012 | | 4 comments

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.


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    At a time when there is discussion to remove unwanted red tape and thus remove any legal audible warning instrument ie the bell, we now have Oliver Colville [Cons] talking about conspiquity and a louder HOOTER instead of said insipid and useless bell.

    Why not have a person running in front of them with a red flag? That would get others running out of the way.

    r craven Lancs
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    Apart from the millions [nearly £600 million] being already spent or at least in the pipelines for spending on cycle paths, on cycling for leisure and cycles and train, parking, green lanes. etc etc. we now have this.

    Cycle lanes have been with us since the 1950s. A cycle lane was introduced between Preston and Southport and others were alo constructed throughout the country. Millions were spent in the late 20th Century in affording space [at the expense of other road users] on main roads and priority at traffic lights and the same goes on and on and on.

    We know they are green but so is walking, if fact it’s greener, as we don’t need to have factories manufacturing bicycle parts and polluting our atmosphere in the manufacture of rubber compounds etc.

    And when are all these green people going to use the new roadways? Let me think, perhaps to and from work. That would be okay if we take the clock back 60yrs or so when people lived and worked in the same town but they now commute serious mileage by car instead. There is only the school run that can be considered local ie within 2 to 5 miles so maybe we can educate women to take their kids to school by bicycle or better still walk? Then traffic at peak times will be reduced by something like 90, yes 90%.

    Now that’s a saving on petrol and pollution isn’t it? More kids walking to and from school in a less polluting atmosphere and improving health and with a parent or guardian.

    So instead we spend millions, no billions, on cycling safety and and put them where… off the road. Totally segregated from others. After all if we can’t integrate them with any safety on our existing and previously congested roads then let’s spend millions on building something special for them, after all they are saving the planet.

    robert craven
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    The roads are alreay too narrow and poorly maintained without increasing the number of cyclists, instead move them to the pavements; also as a motorist I have lost count of the number of cyclists I have seen without lights and with defective brakes. Make them have an MOT on their bikes and tell them to get insurance.

    Jim Aberdeen
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    There is a substantial overlap in the causes of both cycle and motorcycle casualties in urban areas, why can we not work on a wider basis to ensure roads are safer for all user groups?

    Why can’t Mr Baker ensure that every city has a well resourced road safety unit and effective roads policing delivering safer roads for everyone instead of focusing narrowly on one issue?

    Dave, Leeds
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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