England elections 2021: FAQs on Cycling for everyone campaign

England elections 2021: FAQs on Cycling for everyone campaign

Elections on 6 May are an opportunity to make sure candidates in local elections move up the gears, and pledge to secure more investment in cycling – to ensure that cycling is accessible to everyone. Our frequently asked questions will hopefully explain what Cycling UK are doing, why this matters and how you can help.

On 6 May, many people across England will have an opportunity to vote for councillors, city region mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners, and sometimes all three.

Cycling UK want councils to move up a gear and take steps to ensure that cycling is for everyone – from a child learning to ride using a balance bike, to an older person visiting friends on an e-bike; from a disabled person handcycling to work, to a family having a day out at the weekend.

That’s why we’ve published our manifesto for cycling for the English local authority elections, and written to thousands of candidates asking if they’ll pledge to support two asks to make sure cycling is for everyone, namely:

  • The investment needed in active travel to achieve the Government’s 2025 target to double levels of cycling, making active travel a priority in all transport and neighbourhood decision-making.
  • The development and delivery of an active travel network of safe, accessible and direct routes including cycling infrastructure networks designed to national standards in every town and city, and rural routes to link these.

You can support our campaign by writing to your candidates today.

But we’re also supporting Action Vison Zero’s collaborative campaign for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and regional campaigns for the metro mayoral elections.

The answers to the following frequently asked questions should hopefully help you find out what’s happening where you live, explain what Cycling UK are doing, how you can make your voice heard ask your candidates to support our manifesto commitments, and why that’s so important to make sure that cycling is for everyone.

Are Cycling UK campaigning in every local authority election?

No, because local government in England is complex, with 30 areas having a ‘two tier’ system, where the ‘upper tier’ County Council has responsibility for certain activities including highways. Those upper tier authorities are responsible for transport, including investment in cycling and walking (active travel), whilst the ‘lower tier’ district or borough council has responsibility for matters including planning, but not transport. The remaining 128 local authorities are single tier, so they control everything except parish council decisions.

While planning and other decisions by lower tier authorities can have some influence on active travel policy and provision, it’s the upper tier highway authority which controls the transport budget, so Cycling UK’s local authority election campaign is focussed on local authorities with highways responsibility. We haven’t written to candidates in lower tier councils, and you can’t use our online action to directly contact those candidates. 

Does every local authority with highways responsibility have an election in May?

No. There are elections in 21 County Councils, and 124 unitary , district and borough councils but some councils with highways responsibility don’t have elections this May.

We have an election page on our website which links to separate pages for our election campaigns in Wales, Scotland and England. Our England election page shows local authority elections where the council has highways responsibility, and where there are mayoral elections for combined authorities, often referred to as metro mayoral or city region elections.

What is Cycling UK asking candidates to do?

We’ve published a manifesto for cycling, and we’re asking every candidate in local authority elections (where the council has highways responsibility) to pledge to support two asks to make sure cycling is for everyone, namely:

  • The investment needed in active travel to achieve the Government’s 2025 target to double levels of cycling, making active travel a priority in all transport and neighbourhood decision-making.
  • The development and delivery of an active travel network of safe, accessible and direct routes including cycling infrastructure networks designed to national standards in every town and city, and rural routes to link these.

Why are these two asks important?

To achieve its ambition to make cycling and walking the natural choices for shorter journeys, or part of a longer journey, the Government set a target to double the 2013 levels of cycling in England by 2025.

The actions needed to achieve this will vary between different towns, cities, and rural communities, and each local authority needs to think about where and what infrastructure is needed, and which interventions will work best. That’s why we’ve not produced a more detailed manifesto with multiple asks, because cycling campaigners and campaign groups will probably know what’s needed locally to move up the gears, so that cycling is for everyone.

We want to support what local groups and campaigners are asking for and amplify their voice – because local people know best what’s needed where they live. But there are two things are needed throughout England if we are to create a country where cycling is for everyone: investment and a network of high quality cycling routes – our two asks for candidates.

Has Cycling UK written to the candidates?

We’ve written to thousands of candidates who we have email contact details for, asking them to pledge to support our manifesto asks, but we’re relying on a crowd sourced database because there’s no national database of candidates with email contact details, so not every candidate will have received an email from us.

How does Cycling UK’s online action work?

If you visit our online action you can see whether any of your candidates has pledged to support our manifesto asks. If they haven’t, you can email them using our editable template letter, letting them know this matters to you, and asking them to make the pledge. We’re updating the action every day to show who’s pledged, though this isn’t automatic so there may be a few hours delay between a candidate pledging and this being displayed on our online action.

What happens if Cycling UK doesn’t have details for all of my candidates?

Some candidates details aren’t on the database, so we’ve not been able to write to them and they’re not currently showing on our action. If we’re missing candidate details in your area however, you can still use Who Can I Vote For to find out who else is standing to be your candidate and may also be able to find some email addresses not included in our action.

For those who don’t have an email, with a quick search online, you might be able find one. If you do, we’ve prepared a draft email you can use to write to them to seek their support.

Please let us know if your candidates reply indicating their support.

How else can I contact candidates?

Who Can I Vote For will often have links to candidates twitter accounts. As twitter is a public forum, it can sometimes be even more effective in gathering support than a direct email.

A well-targeted tweet can get your candidates thinking about the role cycling can play in the coronavirus recovery, especially if you’re able to spark a public discussion by the various candidates in your area!

Some suggested tweets :

As candidates to be my councillor for [insert your electoral area], will you all commit to being #pedallingpoliticians by pledging to support the two asks in @WeAreCyclingUK’s Manifesto for Cycling? bit.ly/3gsxVQH [Make sure to tag each of your candidates].

Cycling should play a key role in our coronavirus recovery. As my councillor candidates, will you pledge to be #pedallingpoliticians and, if elected, support increased investment in cycling and walking, and the asks in @WeAreCyclingUK’s Manifesto for Cycling? bit.ly/3gsxVQH [Make sure to tag each of your candidates].

Cycling keeps people healthy, reduces emissions, and is fun! But cycling should be for everyone: we need a network of safe and accessible cycle lanes. You all want to be my next councillor: if elected, will you support the development of this network? #pedallingpoliticians [Make sure to tag each of your candidates].

If you tweet your candidates and they respond to indicate their support, let us know campaigns@cyclinguk.org  – we’ll be keeping track of which candidates are committing, if elected, to support cycling.

Are Cycling UK campaigning in the Metro Mayoral elections?

There are elections in May for combined authority mayors in seven metro mayoral areas.

Cycling UK is not leading campaigns in those city regions, because the actions needed to make sure that cycling is for everyone differ between mayoral regions, and we want to amplify the voices of those who best understand what needs to happen in their area or region to enable more people to cycle: local cycling campaigns and campaigners.

Our England election page includes a link to a specific Metro Mayoral election page which includes information about campaigns, hustings events, and manifestos in various city regions.

In some, we’ve worked with local campaigners to organise hustings events or agree manifestos. If you’re aware of events or manifesto asks in your city region which aren’t included, please let us know campaigns@cyclinguk.org

Is Cycling UK campaigning around the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections?

There are Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in both England and Wales in May

Cycling UK are supporting a coalition campaign for these elections , led by Action Vision Zero , with a manifesto calling on PCC candidates to :

  • Make road danger reduction a priority
  • Tackle speeding (the greatest threat)
  • Be transparent and accountable
  • Work with your community
  • Improve the post-crash response.

What if I don’t live in England?

There are elections in Wales and Scotland in May for the national governments, and our Wales election page and Scotland election page include manifestos and easy to use actions for you to support our election campaigns in both countries.

There are no elections in Northern Ireland this year – but there are next year, so please contact campaigns@cyclinguk.org if you want to support our Northern Ireland election campaign next year.

What if I want to do more?

If you’re not already involved in your local cycling campaign group, this is a great time to change that – many groups are actively campaigning in the local elections.

You can find Cycling UK affiliated cycling campaign groups, and there are other groups out there too – just search the following online: “[name of your nearest town, city] cycling campaign”. 

If you want to get more involved locally, consider joining our Cycle Advocacy Network.

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