Today sees the launch of the Summary and Recommendations of the “Get Britain Cycling” report. Reporting on this on the front page of The Times we see “Cyclists are set to win revolution in road safety”. Is this so? Road Danger Reduction Forum President Lord Berkeley is one of the Panel members of The Get Britain Cycling Inquiry. I have a reputation for pessimism (or as I would say, healthy scepticism) and as RDRF Chair I give a detailed analysis of the Summary and Recommendations below.
Make no mistake, along with Mayor Johnson’s “Vision for Cycling”; the production of this report is a pivotal moment for the possibility of not just cycling, but sustainable transport as a whole in Britain. So: are cyclists – and all those of us interested in the development and implementation of sustainable transport policy indeed “set to win”? Continue reading
We have posted on the “Get Britain Cycling” enquiry before – and although regrettably we were not called to give evidence, some good contributions have been made to the enquiry. In this post – after asking you support EDM 679 directly or through the CTC – we give a view on two talking points that have arisen: The revelation for some MPs that the police do not enforce road traffic law, specifically 20 mph limits (who knew?) and the AA president gratifying some cyclists by saying that drivers shouldn’t threaten to kill them (which we’re supposed to be impressed by?) Continue reading
Summing it all Up:
If my analysis in these posts here seems more critical than that of some cycling bloggers and cycling groups, this may be because I have experience of the lack of positive effects of numerous talked-up cycling strategies, initiatives and “visions” from those in power over the past 25 years in the UK. Not a few of these were hailed at the time as “step-changes” or “sea-changes” in support for cycling. My justification for an in-depth analysis of this document is that unless we understand what is being incorrectly assessed and proposed, we won’t get it right this time either. The key point is to understand what opportunities are now open (or need to be pushed for afresh) in the current climate. Hopefully this analysis will allow for campaigners and practitioners alike to prepare accordingly. Continue reading
Some more Problems: Cycle Training, Smarter Travel etc.
A key part of the funding (already announced before the publication of the Vision) goes to non-highway (or off-road) infrastructure. I’m absolutely in favour of moving beyond the usual highways and transportation planners fixation on the highway environment. But the spending has to obviously go in the right direction – and I’m not sure it does. Continue reading
While giving praise where it is due: I continue this in-depth analysis with some more Problems:
Permanently empty stands in a “Biking Borough”
Mayor Johnson: “I do not control the vast majority of London’s roads, so many of the improvements I seek will take time. They will depend on the cooperation of others, such as the boroughs…”. Continue reading
This is the biggest current story for anybody interested in sustainable transport policy. As the ever sensible Chris Boardman correctly commented: “This is the most ambitious cycling development and promotion plan in the UK in living memory, perhaps ever.” However, you don’t have to be a cynic for the excitement of first part of that sentence to be somewhat cooled by the “in the UK” part of it.
As a London cyclist of 35 years standing, campaigner for most of those years and transport professional in London for 25, here is my assessment of what the “Vision for Cycling” may – or may – not mean for London. Continue reading
In amongst all the fuss about Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in London, the Get Britain Cycling Inquiry , the pressure from motorists’ organisations to cut fuel duty (well, there should be a fuss about this) one important item has slipped under the radar – apart from for those genuinely interested in the safety of all road users.
This is the 30th anniversary of a move successfully lobbied for by the “road safety” lobby, which –although it took them 26 years to admit it – led to “a clear reduction in death and injury to car occupants, appreciably offset by extra deaths among pedestrians and cyclists (my emphasis) So, how many cyclists and pedestrians is it alright to kill in order to protect car occupants from bad driving? Other issues apart from the moral one are revealed by this episode, so do read on: Continue reading
Local Transport today published the following letter from me in their current issue under the heading “Question climate change scepticism, not climate change” (p.16 LTT 615 08 February 2013) Continue reading
The 2012 RDRF Wooden Spoon Award for bad writing about safety on the road had, as you might expect, a pretty stiff amount of competition. Continue reading
First, the good news: another academic study using conventional cost-benefit analysis finds that motorists in the 27 EU countries have a net economic cost to society, with the UK second only to Germany in costs. Take a look at the nice short summary in the Guardian. It’s good to counteract what the Guardian correctly calls “The perennial complaint from drivers that they are excessively taxed”, not least the prejudice that cyclists are cheating by “not paying a tax”. The figure given for these external costs – £48 billion per annum, some £10 billion more than the total of motoring taxation revenue – looks pretty damning. However, it can be argued that the costs of motoring to society are considerably greater than those in the picture painted in the study, and that the report is inadequately critical of the status quo.
Let’s look at the report in a bit more detail. Continue reading