DfT floats idea of creating single Tsar for cycling and walking

Cycling has a National Cycling Strategy Board, a government appointed body that advises on measures to make cycling more attractive in the UK. Walking, another way of getting people out of cars, has no such quango. Could the two transport modes be combined into one body, with one Tsar? Transport minister Tony McNulty today told BikeBiz.com that any merger of cycling and walking would be positive. "Neither will be diluted," he said.
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On the one hand, walking and cycling go naturally together. They are non-motorised forms of local transport. But, historically, pedestrian and cycling bodies have rarely seen eye to eye.

Both, of course, have a common enemy: unrestrained car use. Might it therefore be sensible for the Department for Transport to create a joint walking and cycling strategy board?

This is one of the options under consideration in a strategic review of the National Cycling Strategy Board, currently being undertaken by civil servant Nicole Lanitis.

One biking bigwig wasn't bowled over by the floated idea:

"There are important areas of overlap and some common agendas, but not enough in my view to lose cycling as an identity at national government level.

"In my view this would make an already poor situation much worse. We cannot kid ourselves that ministers and civil servants will double the attention they give to non-motorised users just because they shove two topics together. In fact we will get the same interest but have to divide it up with walking issues.

"I have suggested that if the Department felt cycling had to be part of a wider consortium it would be much better positioned with cars and moterbikes as users of the same shared space, then we could work on road design, education, road safety, training and education together. Roads are still the primary resource for over 90% of cycling.

"Delivery of the National Cycling Strategy could do more to reduce obesity than any other single measure" to quote the recent parliamentary select committee on health."

BikeBiz.com was with transport minister Tony McNulty this morning and asked when the merger might take place. He didn't give a date but said it was true that the body would have just one supremo.

The current chair of the National Cycling Strategy Board is BA president Phillip Darnton, ex MD of Raleigh.

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