New plans have been proposed by the labour government in order to improve cycling in the UK. A Labour Government would “put cyclists and pedestrians at the top table of transport policy,” says a press statement from the Labour Party. A Government led by Ed Miliband would create a Cyclist and Pedestrians’ Advisory Board to boost active travel. The main aim of all this would be to eventually boost the cycling safety and figures in the UK. Labour’s plan were introduced by Michael Dugher, the Shadow Transport Secretary. He was speaking at a Campaign for Better Transport event in London.
The new board would include a varied selection of members including: senior civil servants from the Departments for Transport, Education, Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government, as well as cycling and pedestrian representatives.
Labour have also backed, the introduction for HGV’s to undergo changes in order to improve the safety of cyclists, hopefully allowing drivers to see cyclists easier. This follows a safety initiative by CLOGS (Construction Logistics & Cycle Safety) backed up by vehicle manufactures including Volvo.
Labour will spend £250 million on cycling, safety and integration as part of the Road Investment Strategy. Labour will also match the Government’s commitment to spend £114 million on cycling in eight cities across the country. It will also set “ambitious targets” to increase cycling and walking participation and to improve road safety, and will also continue to fund and support Bikeability cycle training.
Other plans include:
- A review into funding per capita, figures announced recent a mere £2.35 was being spent on each cyclist in the UK whereas this figure is ten time more in very successful cycling cities in Europe.
- Include ambitious targets in the plan, to increase cycling and walking participation, and reduce the number of pedestrians and cyclists who are killed and seriously injured.
- The travel board will give the same powers of London’s authorities to local councils. Which is essence should mean plans could be passed and funded more quickly.
- An overlook into the justice system which may mean stricter sentencing for those who injure or kill vulnerable road users through dangerous driving.
But is this something we have all heard before?
In 2013, BikeBiz reported on the Coalition Government’s plans to create the Office for Active Travel, but this was later pulled. You can read this here – http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/gov-t-to-create-office-for-active-travel-to-get-brits-out-of-cars/014736http://bit.ly/1D9PtIn
In 2013 a report named “get Britain Cycling was released. The response by ministers was to suggest an organisation that was then reportedly going to be called the Office for Active Travel. These plans however never came to fruition.
People will make their own judgement about this reported idea by the Labour party. Many cyclists in will feel that the cities have a higher importance than those in rural areas. Whether any funding will trickle down to the smaller towns and rural areas of Britain remains to be seen. Investment for cycling isn’t likely to be one of the hot topics in the run up to the election, but it’s a topic that’s easy to support. Very few politicians would object to more cycling but what guarantees can we get from our politicians as they try to win our votes?