Cycling should be a central issue at the next election, British Cycling and the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, Ian Austin, said today.
Speaking at the opening of the 12th Cycle Show and the Love Cycling Conference at the NEC in Birmingham, Labour MP Ian Austin said that 2015 is the moment to achieve a real breakthrough in government support for cycling.
Austin wants cycling campaign groups and the cycling industry to challenge political parties to sign up to pledges to invest in safer facilities and support other measures to promote cycling and get more people cycling, based on the Vote4Cycling campaign organised during the recent Australian election by former Tour de France rider Stephen Hodge.
"Let’s start planning now to make cycling a really important issue at the next election. I have asked British Cycling, Sustrans, the CTC and the Bicycle Association to draw up proposals to make cycling a central issue at the next election."
Ian Austin MP, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group co-chair
British Cycling’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs, Martin Gibbs, said:
“Promoting and properly investing in cycling would save the NHS billions of pounds and would make our towns and cities greener and more pleasant places to live. The pressure for ministers to really take on the challenge is building and I’m pleased to see the All Party Group continue to push the cause. Cycling’s growth in recent years and the fact that almost two million people are riding once a week means that putting cycling at the heart of government policy is now a no-brainer. We, along with all cycling organisations, look forward to lobbying on this issue in the lead up to the 2015 election.”
All Party Parliamentary Group Chair, Ian Austin MP, said:
“Let’s start planning now to make cycling a really important issue at the next election. I have asked British Cycling, Sustrans, the CTC and the Bicycle Association to draw up proposals to make cycling a central issue at the next election.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have a high-profile campaign like the Australians? We can use the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling recommendations to develop clear demands and call on the political parties to sign up to them, let’s challenge all the parties to produce manifestos for cycling, with detailed pledges about the investment they will earmark, and the improvements they will make to get more people cycling.
“Let’s organise hustings on cycling and mobilise cyclists, local campaigns, clubs and groups around the country, support them and equip them with the resources they need to meet their local candidates and demand they pledge to support cycling too. The next election is the moment we can achieve a real breakthrough and get the changes we want to see to promote cycling in Britain.”
The All Party Cycling Group – in collaboration with British Cycling - recently published the “Get Britain Cycling” report with 18 recommendations to boost cycling from less than 2% journeys in 2011, to 10% in 2025, and 25 per cent by 2050. It recommends that the government invests a larger share of the transport budget on measures to promote cycling such as more segregated cycle lanes and improved junctions, provide more training for cyclists, teach children to ride at school and support businesses who want to enable their staff to commute by bike. The full report can be read here (PDF document).