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Councils must make roads safer for cyclists – Transport Select Committee

The government should make it “easier and cheaper” for local authorities to bring in lower speed limits to reduce the number of cycling fatalities on the country’s roads, the Transport Select Committee has stated.

Launching a report examining how roads can be made safer for cyclists, Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Committee, added that as well as introducing more 20mph speed limits into ‘high risk areas’, taxpayers should foot the bill for a five-fold increase in cycling infrastructure.

MPs on the Transport Select Committee said that raising central cycling budgets to five times current levels by 2020 would be ‘essential’ to fund long-term supportive infrastructure and make the country’s roads safer.

Ellman said: “Last year 109 cyclists were killed on our roads, and over 3,000 seriously injured. Cyclists have told us the dangers they face every day from a lack of cycling infrastructure, poorly-designed junctions and aggressive driving.

“Spending on cycling is currently estimated to be just £2 per head. To make the necessary improvements to cycling infrastructure and training, we call for spending to be increased to £10 per head by 2020. Investing in cycling will make the roads safer for all users, and encourage more people to cycle and walk.”

Councils have also been urged to use “all the tools at their disposal” to promote safe road sharing between cyclists and drivers. The MPs recommend that “local authorities should be able to demonstrate that the cycling has been considered and incorporated into the design of new roads at the earliest stage, and that local cyclists have been consulted as part of this process”.

The report also states there is "limited evidence of a widespread culture that is supportive of cyclists as road users", despite a call last year by the prime minister, David Cameron, for a "cycling revolution" following British successes in the Olympics, Paralympics and Tour de France.

The MPs added that disproportionate number of HGVs involved in collisions with cyclists demonstrates that the industry must improve its road safety record. And the DVSA must ensure that drivers are tested – in the practical test if possible, and certainly via the theory test – on their approach to sharing the road with cyclists.

Channel 4 news presenter and cycling charity CTC president Jon Snow said: “The positive recommendations made by the Select Committee are good news, but we need our government to go one step further and make the commitment to at least £10 per head funding to make safe cycling within the UK with immediate effect, not six years from now.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said the government had more than doubled cycle funding to £374m. He said: “This money, which with match-funding will top £622m, is helping to deliver safer junctions and roads, improved cycle links, better safety training in schools and more cycle parking.

“We recently announced an extra £130m to support cycle networks in towns and cities across England and Wales and another £15m for improving the integration between rail and cycle journeys.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


S Daley   22/07/2014 at 08:52

As someone who rides to/from work each day and has suffered two accidents, one of which was a hit and run, I can definately say that it is more than infrastucture we need, though this is obviously welcome. Drivers attitudes have to change. Driving to close to cyclists or overtaking then braking violently in front of a cyclist, is an ll too common facet of my daily commute. The law has to change with stiff penalties or immediate short term bans for drivers caught endangering cyclists.

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