Promoting cycling at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton

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Promote cycling to the Labour Party Conference in Brighton!
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Promoting cycling at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton

The Labour Party Conference starts in a few days’ time in Brighton. Local campaigner, Becky Reynolds, has been working with Bricycles and CTC to put on a ride to promote Space for Cycling to delegates on 30 September. Read Becky's blog below for more, and if you're around in Brighton, do come along!
Becky Reynolds [photo right] says:

It’s great that Lilian Greenwood MP, the new Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, will join us for a cycle ride during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. We will assemble to greet the visiting politicians on Wednesday 30 September at 08.15 and take a short but invigorating early morning ride along the seafront, where we will be promoting Space for Cycling with banners, cards and support from CTC.

We are delighted that the new Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn regularly rides a bike. We hope he comes too!

The hotel where delegates are staying is close to the popular seafront cycle track used by thousands of cyclists daily. Brighton and Hove is in the forefront of cycling provision, and recently gained the Best Cycle Network Infrastructure Award at the Cycle Planning Awards for improvements on the Lewes Road. The innovative design included cycle lanes behind bus stops and an early green phase for cyclists on traffic lights. This could not have happened without political will and government investment.

However, the political process means that subsequent elected administrations, both national and locally might have different priorities
for transport. That’s why we need to make contact with the people who will be making the crucial policy, planning and investment decisions at all levels. We must give them the positive message about cycling, encourage their interest and ensure that everyone is aware of the many health and environmental benefits it brings (as in The benefits of getting England cycling and the Economic Cycle, which show that if the parliamentary targets outlined in the Get Britain Cycling report were met, and 25% of all trips were made by bike by 2050, there would be £42bn in annual benefits and a cumulative benefit of over £248bn.) Cycling is a good investment!

CTC’s Roger Geffen did excellent campaigning work in getting a Cycling and Walking Strategy included in the Infrastructure Act. We must end the stop/start lottery of cycle funding!

In the lead-up to the May 2015 council elections, we promoted the Space for Cycling’s six points to the candidates:

1. Protected space on main roads and at junctions - NOT inadequate pavement conversions that stop and start at every side road!

2. Removal of through motor traffic on residential streets - local residents would still have access by car. Deliveries and refuse collections would be unaffected.

3. Lower speed limits - 20 mph in villages and built-up areas. 40 mph or lower on rural lanes.

4. Cycle-friendly town centres - people prioritised over motor traffic to create high streets that are economically viable and socially vibrant.

5. Routes through green spaces and parks

6. Safe routes to schools

Nineteen of the 54 Brighton and Hove City councillors (35%) signed up, but many of them later lost their seats, and some did not re-stand. We now have to start again with the new council!

Different towns have made different progress in achieving 'Space for Cycling’. In Brighton and Hove, we do have some vibrant traffic-free streets. We have some priority for cyclists at side roads (as on the Old Shoreham Road), but there is little in most legacy cycle tracks/lanes. We have done well in establishing 20 mph speed limits in the city; we now need to focus on compliance by drivers. We have turned several one-way streets into legal 2-way cycling, but there are many more to change.

All across the country, there is still a long way to go to shift the balance of power on the streets to recognise the value of cycling and walking. Junctions and main roads need sorting out. Cycling is still not an easy thing to do for the less intrepid. This requires political action at national and local level.

Do join us for the ride! Details here
[Photo left: ride meeting point]


Becky Reynolds
Campaigns Officer, Bricycles (the Brighton and Hove Cycling Campaign)
CTC local Right to Ride Representative, Brighton and Hove                                              

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"We have done well in establishing 20 mph speed limits in the city; we now need to focus on compliance by drivers."

That would be an interesting development. To my experience, as a daily cyclist, less than 1% of drivers respect the 20 mph limit. As an occasional driver, I noticed that when I do drive within speed limits, many impatient drivers following me get quite nervous and even try to bully me into breaking the limit. Without some form of enforcement or education, I'm afraid this is just a waste of taxpayer's money (and a misleading information to the inexperienced cyclist, who may expect that this limit is respected by drivers and cycle according to expectations).

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