Earlier today the government released its response to House of Commons Transport Committee’s Cycling Safety report. It includes the announcement of some new measures – including allowing the creation of larger "advanced stop line" boxes – but falls far short of the promises from the prime minister that he would oversee a "cycling revolution."
Both CTC and Sustrans have criticised the response. CTC said the prime minister needs to step in personally if his aspirations for a “cycling revolution” are to come true. And Sustrans called the government's plans for cycling "sticking-plaster solutions."
CTC also noted that the government’s response ignored the Select Committee’s recommendation for an ambition of a cycling spend of £10 per person annually by 2020 and a timetable of how this would be achieved.
The government claims that current cycling spend in England is £5 per person. However this estimate includes Transport for London current spending of over £15 per head, hence the average annual spend per person outside London is considerably lower. It also rests on assumptions that 11 percent of Local Transport Plan integrated transport block funding, and 28 percent of funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, are being spent on cycling. Currently no evidence has been provided to support either of these figures.
Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Director said:
“The government’s response to the Committee report is very disappointing. While the Prime Minister calls for a ‘cycling revolution’, his government is making long term plans for road and rail while neglecting cycling. Clearly he needs to step in and take a personal involvement to prevent his cycling plans growing dusty and rusty at the back of the Department for Transport’s store cupboard.
“There is a fundamental failure to address the Transport Committee’s weakened recommendation for a timetable on how cycling can be funded by £10 per head annually. This is small change within the Government’s overall transport spending.
“Other Government departments need to play their part too, notably the departments for Health, Education, Local Government and the Treasury. David Cameron really needs to knock ministerial heads together if his cycling plan is to be a success.”
Claire Francis, Head of Policy for Sustrans said:
“Any measures to improve the safety of cycling in Britain can only be a good thing, and it’s important that this issue is being raised at senior levels of government.
“However sweeping changes, not sticking plaster solutions, are needed and these recommendations do not go nearly far enough. The missing link in improving the roads for cycling comes down to funding.
“The new Infrastructure Bill is promising to deliver the biggest shake up to the roads network in a generation, yet makes no mention of cycling. An amendment to this bill would provide a great opportunity to guarantee long term funding for safe cycling."
Among the new measures included in the response are plans to allow new traffic lights to give cyclists a head start at junctions, options for larger Advanced Stop Lines and reducing the requirements for Traffic Orders for some cycling facilities.