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MPs should be embarrassed by Select Committee inquiry says Boardman

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British Cycling’s Policy Adviser, Chris Boardman, today spoke of his frustration at the lack of knowledge on cycling displayed by the MPs that sit on the Transport Select Committee.

Chris Boardman

The Committee, which yesterday heard evidence from cycling campaign bodies, transport research, the Mayor of London’s office and the police, held a session looking into why six cyclists died on London’s streets last month in the space of just two weeks.

British Cycling’s Policy Adviser, Chris Boardman, said:

“The MPs that sit on the transport select committee should be embarrassed by their performance yesterday in an inquiry that was meant to be about why six people died riding bicycles on London’s roads in the space of two weeks.

“In front of them sat experts from campaigning bodies, transport research and the police – all ready to get into a proper discussion - and yet the MPs demonstrated that they didn’t even know the most basic of facts. Evidence and statistics were bypassed in favour of opinions and anecdotes on sideline topics.

“Such a clear demonstration of lack of research and understanding at this level of seniority would, in any other business, be classed as negligent.

"Such a clear demonstration of lack of research and understanding at this level of seniority would, in any other business, be classed as negligent."

British Cycling Policy Adviser Chris Boardman

“This was an opportunity to discuss how we can make our roads fit for people to get around by bicycle, improving our nation’s health, the environment and cutting emissions. This will deliver benefits for everyone, not just cyclists, and to do it we need to transform infrastructure, tackle dangerous junctions and encourage people to use bikes to get around.

“I’d like to see a proper, fruitful evidence session, rather than opinion-based discussion, on how to protect and encourage cycling as a mode of transport. To that end I am going to write to the MPs on the committee asking them to meet with British Cycling representatives to get to work discussing the real issues that can lead to the transformation of not just cycling, but the environments that we live in.”

The Committee will sit for a second hearing tomorrow. The government’s new cycling minister, Robert Goodwill, will give evidence. Meanwhile, in Manchester, Chris Boardman will tomorrow meet officials from New York City’s transport authority to hear about the changes that are needed in Britain to emulate NYC’s success in doubling cycling and inspiring five million rides in five months through the city’s bike hire scheme.