Saturday, 10 August 2013

10 commandments to Get Britain Cycling

The Government is tipped to make an announcement soon about cycling in the UK in the wake of the Cyclesafe campaign by The Times, and the Get Britain Cycling parliamentary debate.

The enquiry report proposed that the government should set national targets to increase cycle use from less than 2% of journeys in 2011, to 10% of all journeys in 2025, and 25% by 2050, and proposed a number of recommendations to make it happen.

The CTC have also issued a set of 10 top priorities, which to me seem to be a bit wishy washy and halfhearted, which is especially disappointing from one of the UK's leading cycling advocacy bodies.

I have distilled, and tweaked some of the enquiries recommendations into my 10 commandments which I think the Government should implement to encourage and facilitate more people riding bikes. Number 6 is pretty much as GetBritaincycling proposed (which is why it's different colour)
  1. Review and adopt international best practice for cycling & walking provision and infrastructure and make mandatory for all new developments and schemes.
  2. Make all public places such as shops, workplaces, leisure facilities and schools provide 10% of car parking with cycle parking & separated direct walking/cycling routes across car parks. Impose time limit for implementation.
  3. Parallel & protected safe routes for walking & cycling alongside trunk roads, motorways & across junctions must be provided ASAP to best practice prioritised by demand.
  4.  Local authorities to deliver cycle-friendly improvements across their existing networks, including small improvements, segregated routes, and road reallocation. All LAs to adopt a "suggestion box" scheme for local cycling improvements & investigate & act appropriately. 
  5.  Make 20mph default speed limit for residential & any other roads with significant proportion of non vehicular traffic such as shopping areas
  6.  Improve large vehicle safety by vehicle design, driver training, and mutual awareness with cyclists; promote rail freight and limit use of HGVs on the busiest urban streets at the busiest times, and use public sector projects to drive fleet improvements.
  7.  Stronger enforcement of road traffic laws with stronger penalties to aim for making bad or dangerous driving as antisocial as drunk driving is now.
  8. Provide cycle training at all primary and secondary schools & offer widespread subsided cycle training etc to encourage everyone to cycle, especially as exercise based health strategies for prevention & treatment of diseases such as T2 diabetes & obesity.
  9.  Cycling needs to be promoted as a safe and normal activity & mode of transport for people of all ages and backgrounds.
  10. The Government should produce a Govt wide plan for cycling, with annual progress audits & an independent expert as a national Cycling Champion. Each local authority to   have a local cycling champion or independent panel of cycling experts ao monitor & audit progress


  1. Gazza

    Thanks for your tweet. I very much like your Top 10 list - great stuff.

    I am bound to agree with it of course! Numbers 3-9 are 100% in line with CTC's own policy script, and although we'd word nos 1, 2 or 10 slightly differently (not least for clarity, e.g. in no 2, "10%" means 10% of what?), there's no real difference between us on any of this.

    So I'm sorry if you feel CTC's own Top 10 is "a bit wishy washy". I just wonder if this that has more to do with the fact that we were aiming for media-genic brevity rather than policy-oriented thoroughness?

    Of course, if you want the latter, you need a lot more than just a "Top 10" though! See for instance the really comprehensive listing of policy calls on pp48-61 of the Get Britain cycling report vol 2: It's VERY much in line with CTC policy!

    Roger Geffen
    Campaigns & Policy Director
    CTC, the national cycling charity

  2. Thanks Roger for your comments. I do think we are all on the same page in general.

    It may actually be as you say that your 10 priorities are just brief as you have distilled them down to a sentence each. There are words like "improve" or "expand" where I would have much preferred to have seen stated targets, or calls for mandatory minimums.

    I think all in the cycling community need to be tough and serious about calling for minimum standards and targets which are measurable.

    Too often infrastructure and facilities are provided now which ensure that the tick box for provision is completed, but are inadequate for real world use, and provide very poor value for money and return on the investment.

    If decent resources are to be invested, then money needs to be spent wisely on infrastructure and services which are sensible and fit for purpose. A good example is the Niceway Code, which I am sure has very worthy intentions, but has comprehensively failed to hit the correct target and has been almost universally panned. That is a real shame.

    In point 2 of my list. Where I say 10%, I that mean where a supermarket for example provides 100 car parking places, there should be a mandatory minimum of 10 secure parking places for bicycles. Too often none is provided. Of course they need to be useable as well.