Wednesday, 27 November 2013

How do we get people out of cars and onto bikes?, asks Mary Creagh

This was the question posed by the Parliamentary all party cycling group on Twitter attributed to Mary Creagh, the shadow transport Minister
Well Mary, cycling needs to be seen as safe and attractive before people will give up their cars. Above all it needs to be seen as a viable transport choice, and all too often currently it is not even on the radar.

Even though the Labour party is not in power nationally, there is lots that can be done by local authorities and Labour do control a lot of them. The Govt seem to be pushing responsibility to LAs saying it's a local issue, so Labour could make some real headway quickly.

here are some suggestions

  • On roads with a speed limit above 20 mph, which should be all residential areas, start building cycling paths which are physically separated from motor vehicles.
  • Where possible, residential roads should be closed to prevent though traffic. This will prevent "rat running" and ensure that only traffic that needs to be there is there. Ensure closures have permeability for pedestrians and cycles.
  • Shops, leisure facilities  and workplaces need to provide much more bicycle parking than they currently do, and parking needs to be visible, covered and secure.
  • 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.
  • Some schools insist on "contracts" like this one (googled). This NEEDS to be turned upon it's head and all schools should only allow pupils to be driven to school by special permission and permit. Cycling and walking must be made the default. Enforce no permit/no parking zones at school times.
  • Cycling must be promoted as a safe everyday transport choice. "Safety" schemes which advise helmet/hi-viz use must be ended. There is little if any evidence that it makes cycling safer. All it does is blame victims and spreads the belief that cycling is a dangerous fringe activity only to be practiced by the fit and brave.
  • 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. 
  • LAs need to conduct a cycle network audit, then develop and publish 5 year plans to build a comprehensive safe high quality cycle network across all of their authority, with strategic and feeder routes.

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