£10 a head for cycling by 2020 say MPs

Inquiry witnesses Edmund King (AA), Chris Boardman (BC) and Roger Geffen (CTC)

£10 a head for cycling by 2020 say MPs

The Commons Transport Select Committee's inquiry report on Cycle Safety has been published, endorsing many of CTC's recommendations.

CTC's evidence to the Committee, given in February, focused on more funding, strong leadership and better infrastructure for cycling.

The Committee's report comes just weeks before the Government's Cycling Delivery Plan is due to be published, following a Prime Ministerial statement a year ago.

The report acknowledges many of CTC's points, arguing for annual funding for cycling to rise to £10 per head - a figure CTC believes is the minimum necessary to Get Britain Cycling. The MPs say that driver training should pay more attention to cycling and "a driver should not receive a licence without demonstrating a level of respect and understanding for more vulnerable road users and pedestrians."

CTC President Jon Snow said, “The positive recommendations made by the Select Committee are good news, but we need our Government to go one step further and make the commitment to at least £10 per head funding to make safe cycling within the United Kingdom with immediate effect, not six years from now.”

Space for Cycling

The report is particularly strong in its condemnation of inadequate cycling facilities and the need to make space for cycling, saying, "in too many cases our cycling infrastructure not only fails to protect cyclists, but also treats cycling as an add-on to roads - an optional extra to be added if there was spare space, rather than a valid mode of transport, as entitled as motor vehicles to space on the road."

I am delighted that MPs have once again backed what CTC has long been calling for.  Cross departmental leadership, clear cycle-friendly design standards and serious long-term funding commitments are essential if Britain’s long-overdue ‘Cycling Revolution’ is finally to get underway.

Roger Geffen
Campaigns Director, CTC

The MPs recommend that, "Local authorities should be able to demonstrate that the cycling has been considered and incorporated into the design of new roads at the earliest stage, and that local cyclists have been consulted as part of this process."

The Department for Transport, they say, should set out good practice examples for local authorities to adopt, which "go beyond minimum standards of safety." 


What CTC called for in February

In addition to leadership, political commitment and funding, CTC’s evidence to the Committee called for:

• Targets which encourage more as well as safer cycling.

• Lower speed limits. 20mph speed limits should become the norm for urban streets, with highway authorities having the freedom to identify appropriate exceptions. Zones of 40mph or lower limits should be widely introduced for rural lane networks.

• Cycle-friendly design standards that allow cyclists of all ages and abilities to use roads and streets safely and comfortably, with particular attention paid to cyclists’ safety and priority at junctions where 75% of cyclists’ collision injuries occur.

• Training and awareness campaigns to promote safety awareness among drivers and cyclists alike, with ‘Bikeability’ cycle training available for people of all ages.

• Strengthened road traffic law and enforcement, with roads policing being given greater priority. Driving which causes obvious ‘danger’ should never be dismissed as merely ‘careless’ driving offences.

• Improved lorry safety, through collaboration between the government, EU and industry, to deliver mandatory cycle awareness training, safer lorry designs and equipment and fewer lorries on busy streets.

What the Select Committee has supported

• Funding of £10 a head for cycling, per person, per year – CTC believes this is the minimum required to start getting Britain cycling.

• Cycle-friendly design standards that enable anyone to be able to use a bike, and which are designed in from the beginning of each project.

• Training and awareness campaigns to promote safety awareness among drivers and cyclists alike with ‘Bikeability’ available for people of all ages – with no driver permitted to gain a licence without awareness of cycling safety.

• Collaboration between the government, EU and industry to improve the design of vehicles and improve the culture of safety in the construction industry

• Leadership and co-ordinated cross-departmental action, to ensure that fragmented funding and policies are aligned to improve cycling safety and increase cycling levels.

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Sadly this new investment figure, only achieved in 2020, is still merely a third of the investment the Dutch make. This is even though they have already built most of their cycleways over the last 40 years or so.

Unless we invest MORE than the Dutch do, and sooner rather than later, we have no hope at all of catching them up. Ramping up slowly from a tiny amount of investment to a small amount is no use at all. We should be investing £40 to £50 per person per year starting NOW, ramping DOWN to £30 per head in 2045 when our cycleway network would be as good as the Dutch have now.

Instead the government is investing around £63 per person per year in new roads, and road improvements, over the next seven years, even though we already have a comprehensive road network. Sadly that investment won't do anything to reduce motor traffic, nor will it solve problems of obesity, diabetes, and transport poverty that are starting to plague the country.

At the same time, Network Rail are investing £120 per person per year in new railway infrastructure. The proposed new runway at Gatwick would cost up to £9 billion, or £144 per person for every man woman and child in the UK.