Published: 20 June 2013
The key recommendations from the Get Britain Cycling report will now be debated in Parliament after one of the biggest supporters of the campaign, Julian Huppert MP – Co Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group - secured a Backbench Business Committee debate on Tuesday.
This move represents a victory for British Cycling and its members who have campaigned tirelessly over recent months.
Debates are only given time in the House if the topic has cross-party support, is topical and is popular amongst MPs. The committee confirmed their support of the application, with the debate likely to take place within the next few weeks.
The campaign to make our roads safer for cyclists, led by The Times and supported heavily by British Cycling and other organisations, dates as far back as 2011. A journalist for The Times, Mary Bowers, was hit by an HGV while cycling to work and remains seriously injured to this day.
A petition submitted on the Government’s website in the wake of the Get Britain Cycling report being published has received fantastic support, with nearly 70,000 people signing the petition. It is this kind of pressure and commitment that has led to the debate being granted.
The Get Britain Cycling recommendations included: re-allocating transport investment to cycling equivalent to £10 per head of population, ensuring that cycling is planned in to all new developments, improving training for cyclists and drivers and lowering speed limits in residential areas.
The debate will call on Prime Minister David Cameron to endorse the proposed target that 10 per cent of all journeys in the UK should be made by bike by 2025 and 25% by 2050. Currently only 2% of journeys in the UK are made by bike. While Cameron did welcome the report when it was first published his comments at the time suggested that he felt responsibility lied with town halls rather than central government.
The Get Britain Cycling report recommends that the only way of achieving these aims is to create a national cycling action plan with sustained funding for cycling.
Julian Huppert, speaking to The Times after his meeting with the Committee said: “Cycling can make a huge difference in terms of improving people’s lives but also in saving people money. It can save billions of pounds from NHS budgets and is also good business in terms of bike sales and easing pressure on the roads.”
When the date of the debate is publicised British Cycling will encourage its members to contact their MP to ask them to attend.
British Cycling’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs, Martin Gibbs, said: “During the Get Britain Cycling inquiry we discussed the need for a proper debate in Parliament so it is great that we have secured this so quickly.
“The petition on the government’s website currently stands at nearly 70,000 and securing the debate for Get Britain Cycling is vindication for everyone who has signed the petition and shows how much support there is for the report’s recommendations.”