Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Why “Get Britain Cycling” is trending on Twitter...


As you will guess from the title, “Get Britain Cycling” is currently trending on Twitter. In short, this is because it is the name of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group inquiry into how best to promote cycling in this country, and the fact that it is trending on Twitter is amazing. The witnesses being heard today include members of campaigning organisations including the CTC, British Cycling, RoadPeace and the Parliamentary Advisory Council on Transport Safety.

Cyclists are usually pretty vocal on the future of cycling, and it is a pretty exciting time to be a cyclist. It is hopefully not too far away when it will attain the mass popularity enjoyed in such places as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where cycling is the default mode of transport. In the UK, although cycling is popular, fashionable and (theoretically) encouraged by the government, it still manages to be seen as an outsider activity. The “summer of cycling” has brought cycling to the front page and to properly establish cycling as the main mode of transport in England, the full support of the Government is needed.

The biggest thing holding cycling back is the perception that it is dangerous. A survey my firm undertook with the road safety charity, BRAKE, indicated that a third of commuters would switch to cycling for their commute to work if the route was less dangerous. Also, 46% of those asked would be persuaded to make other local journeys by bike given safer roads. However, the Get Britain Cycling inquiry today heard that the risk of fatal danger for young car drivers is 10 times higher than for young cyclists.

The Government has today announced a £62 million pound investment in cycling. If the “Get Britain Cycling” inquiry listens to the formidable speakers before them the money should be spent properly: educating drivers how to deal with cyclists; ensuring justice for dangerous drivers; reducing speed limits and teaching the population about the benefits of cycling. I will be eagerly awaiting the recommendations of the inquiry and hoping for a better future for cycling.

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