Supporting Cities fit for cycling campaign
Today I met keen cyclist Simon Palmour and Councillor Dave Merrett, City of York Council’s Cabinet Member for City Strategy, to discuss the Cities fit for cycling campaign which calls on the government to make cycling safer.
I chaired a debate in the House of Commons last week on the campaign which had cross- party support for a range of measures aimed at improving the safety of cyclists on Britain’s roads. The debate was obtained by the All- Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, of which I am a member, and sent out a clear message to the government that steps must be taken to improve conditions for cyclists on our roads.
The manifesto calls for lorries entering a city centre to be required by law to fit sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels. It also wants the 500 most dangerous road junctions to be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors to allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near side.
Campaigners want a national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and to establish how cyclists are killed or injured so further improvements to road safety can be made. They also want two per cent of the Highways Agency budget to be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. The training of cyclists and drivers should be a priority and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
The Government needs to invest more money in cycle lanes and other infrastructure. York has done a lot to promote cycling and is an example to other cities. I cycle to and from Parliament when I am in London and I also cycle in York. My cycling was held up as an example by two MPs, Jeremy Corbyn and Maria Eagle, during last week’s debate, which can be read here.
Cycling has many benefits. It is healthy, it cuts down on congestion, and it is relatively cheap. However, it also needs to be safe and the Cities fit for cycling campaign has looked at some of the ways in which Britain’s roads can be made even safer. Last week’s debate provided a great opportunity for MPs to discuss these and I hope further improvements will be made as a result of this.