Will CWIS keep politicians honest?

CTC's Vote Bike Campaign has seen 25% of prospective MPs in favour of cycling

Will CWIS keep politicians honest?

Can the latest government offering for cycling be the tincture of truth needed to keep our politicians on track? CTC Communications Manager, David Murray, examines the last parliament's efforts towards 25% of trips being made by bike by 2050.

You’re forgiven for thinking this is a guest blog from Jonathan Ross. In fact, CWIS isn’t even human. So who (or what) is CWIS?

CWIS is the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy - the latest acronym to join the public policy peleton which is exciting us at CTC (and our friends in the Active Travel Consortium). I can already hear you cry ‘not another strategy’. Fear not - the good news with this one is that it sits firmly in law - fresh on the statute book in the Infrastructure Act 2015 that gained royal ascent in February this year.

Why is CWIS so exciting?

CWIS (we hope!) puts cycling and walking on a more even footing with its ugly sister - major roads projects. It requires the Government to develop and deliver a strategy for investment in the infrastructure needed to make cycling and walking a more favourable transport choice.

Moreover, with the last Parliament and cycling groups all calling for annual spending on cycling of at least £10 annually - rising to £20 per head as cycle use increases - CWIS is also potentially the vehicle (can we call it a bike?) to deliver this investment. The CWIS could well turn our dream for happier, safer cycling into a real-life success story. There will be people who want to discount this investment as a 'nice to have', which can only exist in non-austere times. But what if we told them that we’ll get back at least £50 in benefits every time we invest a tenner?

So how does it keep the politicians honest?

If only there was a law to keep the political parties to their manifesto promises…Well without that law, we need to find other ways to keep the politicians honest. To remind them of the soundbites they threw into the pre-election media frenzy. When public interest wanes and the real work starts. Those first 100 days are critical to our campaign successes in the next Parliament. Hence our Vote Bike campaign. CTC wants to know who supports cycling and to what extent so that we can make friends with these newly elected politicians in order to champion CWIS beyond the still-wet ink of the legal parchment.

Our next parliamentary hurdle will be to secure a Commencement Order (put simply, a formal announcement that says 'crack on'), in order to make infrastructure planning for cycling a long-term, legally binding (and sufficiently funded) plan.

Here's where you can help

Come the 2020 General Election campaign, our role is not to tut and wag our fingers at those prospective parliamentary candidates who conveniently forgot the government promises of a past parliament. Instead it is to set up a simple victory for this newly reinvigorated government of 2015; keen to grab its first media victory on the other side of the ballot box – and that win is investment in cycling. 

Don't forget, that CTC has set up a tool to help you to encourage all prospective parliamentary candidates to support cycling - www.votebike.org.uk. By adding your voice online, we hope to tip the 30% support marker by polling day.

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