Manchester cyclists of all ages take to the roads
The Manchester mass ride attracted a wide range of cyclists

CTC and GMCC ride at Labour Party Conference

Manchester saw 300 cyclists taking to the streets in a peaceful rally promoting the Space for Cycling campaign on Monday 22 September, as one part of CTC campaign activity at the party conference.

The ride, co-hosted by CTC and the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, was joined by Labour MPs and councillors who demonstrated their support for the national campaign aimed at Getting Britain Cycling, and pledged to make cycling a part of the Labour Party manifesto.

Among the ride’s supporters were Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden, MP  for Hackney Meg Hillier and Parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam Oliver Coppard, who will be challenging for Nick Clegg’s seat in 2015.

Videographer Ethan Duffy has sent us this wonderful short video of the ride:

Earlier that morning at a breakfast event hosted by News UK, Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh MP had promised her support for cycling to an audience of MPs and councillors. Chris Boardman also spoke out saying that if Westminster was serious about action to Get Britain Cycling, then it needed a similar success model to that employed in British track racing with set goals and targeted spending. The event was jointly organised by the Bicycle Association (the industry body which also funds the Space for Cycling campaign), British Cycling, London Cycling Campaign and Sustrans, as well as CTC.

It was great to see so many cyclists in Manchester at conference, calling for action on leadership and funding. Labour is committed to delivering space for safer cycling in Government."

Richard Burden MP, Birmingham Northfield
Labour's Shadow Minister for Transport

In addition to addressing the breakfast event, Mary Creagh touched on a number of key points on Labour’s transport policy towards cycling, during her plenary speech to the party the following day (Tuesday 23rd September). She said she wanted every child to have the opportunity to learn to cycle, to increase the number of cycle commuters and to ensure lorries are fitted with safety equipment suitable for vulnerable road users.

However Creagh has yet to commit to the targets, the commitments to 'Space for Cycling' or the funding needed to deliver this.  At a fringe event organised by the Labour Cyclists group (chaired by cycling convert Cllr Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council), former cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw MP warned his parliamentary colleagues on Labours front bench not to be outdone on cycling by the LibDems and Greens. Bradshaw is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) who wrote the Get Britain Cycling report, and was formerly its chair, before serving as a cabinet minister.

CTC and its allies will be in Birmingham next week for the Conservative Party conference, as part of our ongoing campaign to get all the main parties signed up to the Get Britain Cycling report's recommendations in their manifestos for next May's general election.

We will be holding another Space for Cycling bike ride together with the Birmingham cycle campaign group Push Bikes. All are welcome - see our events page for further details.
 

SamJones