This time next week they’ll be a debate held in parliament on cycle safety. In the run up to the debate I thought it would be a good idea to get in touch with my MP for Westminster Karen Buck. I wanted to show that this was an important issue for me and also highlight the improvements as a cyclist I’d like to see. I also wanted to put across the point that I hope the debate won’t be hijacked by discussions of helmets as a primary way of keeping cyclists safe.
Using Write to Them I sent off an email. Within 24 hours I had a response. I’ve summarised the main points below:
- It cannot be right that people have to fear their friends and relatives getting on a bike, particularly in our cities.
- Despite the importance of cycling proficiency and awareness, we must never give the impression that the responsibility to prevent collisions simply rests with cyclists.
- The Times is right to highlight the importance of measures such as improving road junctions, creating alternative cycle routes and improving safety equipment on HGVs.
- On the cuts the current government made: These cuts included axing of funding for speed cameras, cutting the funding for the highly effective THINK! road safety campaign. It was also a huge mistake to abolish Cycling England, and to discontinue the Cycling City and Towns pilots which were demonstrating just what could be achieved with targeted support for cycling. These should have been rolled out to the rest of the country rather than discontinued by the present government.
- Labour is now looking seriously at each of the ideas that have been proposed in The Times ‘Cycling for Cities’ cycling safety campaign, including new rules on HGVs, improvements to dangerous junctions, the wider use of 20mph speed limits and how much of our spending on roads is designated to ensure they are safe for cyclists to use.
- Labour proposals: First, a proportion of existing government funding for roads should be sent aside to be spent on building new cycle ways, improving junction design and installing traffic light phasing to give cyclists a head start.
- Second, the government’s trial of longer HGVs should be axed and income from the proposed HGV road charging scheme used to support the road haulage industry in upgrading safety measures and training.
- Third, the national targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries on Britain’s roads, axed by the government, should be reinstated.
It’s good to see that Karen Buck is showing support for important measures such as improving junction design and introducing traffic light phasing.
If you’ve been in touch with your MP via Write To Them or through other means then I’d be really interested in hearing what sort of response you’ve received.
Also: A quick heads up that they’ll be a ride organised by iBikeLondon and friends to Parliament at 6.15pm on Wendesday the 22nd of February.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.