The Times' Cycling Campaign

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditor1 Comment

The Times, believing that cycling is too dangerous in Britain, has launched a manifesto:

"Today, The Times launches a cycling manifesto, calling for an overhaul of the approach taken to cycling in British cities. A population which travels by bike is an inherently desirable thing. Cycling is cheap, green and healthy. Transport infrastructures in many of our cities are creaking, and a growing number of people are eager to lessen the strain. They should not be at risk.

"More must be done to make existing roads safer, and the manifesto contains proposals about sensors on larger vehicles and speed limits. Cycle awareness, also, should be a core part of any driving test. But making Britain fit for cyclists is not simply a matter of painting the occasional stretch of road blue, or of alerting drivers to the dangers they pose. In places, our cities must be re-engineered. Overhead platforms, reclaimed land alongside railways, time-shares on existing roads; nothing should be ruled out."

The campaign pages are well worth a read and the manifesto itself is simple has eight simple goals (copied below):

  1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
  2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
  3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
  4. Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
  5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
  6. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
  7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
  8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.

Some of the goals could easily be achieved by a Government and Mayor which want to take cycling safety seriously, others would require time and consultation. Nonetheless, it's an important contribution to the debate ahead of the mayoral elections.

It's absolutely right that London should be a cycle friendly city - for the environment, for congestion and for the safety and health of its residents. The Mayor has repeatedly called for a 'cyclised city' and thinks of himself as a cyclist-friendly politician.Ken Livingstone, his main challenger in the upcoming election, started the ball rolling with the London cycle-hire scheme and has spoken eloquently about the terrible cases of cyclists dying on the capital's roads.

Much of The Times is behind now hidden behind a firewall but the campaign pages are not. I recommend you take a look.