The Times’ ‘Cities Fit for Cycling’ campaign, which launched last week, has resulted in the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group securing a three hour debate on cycling safety scheduled for 23 February.
British Cycling has been closely involved with The Times campaign and since its launch, over 22,000 people have pledged their support, which has led to a three hour debate scheduled in Westminster Hall, allowing MPs and ministers to debate the measures raised by The Times’ campaign.
The news follows yesterday’s news of an urgent TfL review of 500 dangerous junctions in London and the announcement of £15 million of extra funding for sustainable travel projects (in addition to the £560 million Local Sustainable Travel Fund announced in January 2011). The extra money will be split, with £8 million going to Sustrans for National Cycle Network improvements, with the remaining £7 million allocated through the Cycle Rail Working Group, with the aim of developing integration between cycling and rail travel.
Julian Huppert MP (and member of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group) was instrumental in securing the debate, which will be attended by transport minister Norman Baker. Speaking to The Times, Huppert said, “We want to amplify what has been said by The Times and others to make sure there is a discussion on what we still need to do with cycling. The funding today for rail links and Sustrans is a start, but there is a huge amount we can do around infrastructure and training for cyclists. People who care about cycling in their constituency need to write to their MPs to come along.”
Responding to the news, Ian Austin MP, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and British Cycling member said “With the debate just a few weeks away, the critical message is for cyclists and other supporters of The Times’ campaign to write to their local MPs, urging them to attend the debate.
“There’s a lot of work to do on a whole raft of issues including driver training, cycle training, road design, sentencing and HGV safety; therefore political engagement at a national and constituency level is vital. I’d really encourage British Cycling members to put pressure on the government and secure a safer future for all cyclists.”
Above: Prime Minister David Cameron, pictured on a visit to the National Cycling Centre in 2011, has vocalised his support for The Times' Cities Fit for Cycling campaign.
UPDATE 09/02/2012: Following the announcement of the debate, The Time's reported that Prime Minister David Cameron had vocalised his support for the #cyclesafe campaign, along with a pledge from Labour that they might adopt the idea of a ring-fencing two percent of the national transport budget for improvements in cycle safety.
Shadow Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick and Shadow Transport Minister Maria Eagle attended the spot where The Times' journalist Mary Bowers was seriously injured on November 4 2011 - the inspiration for the national newspapers' Cities Fit for Cycling campaign. More on this story here: Cameron and Labour back The Times #cyclesafe campaign