This week the Government made its official response to the Get Britain Cycling report in which it rejected calls for a national Cycling Champion, lauding its recent £77m investment in cycling and called on local authorities to do more for cycling locally.
Largely, reaction has been disappointment from cycle advocates and journalists.
The Guardian’s Peter Walker blasted the response and the Government for ‘consistently showing no ambition or vision’ on cycling. Specifically, Walker said the DfT response document ‘offers virtually nothing new’ and criticises the little extra cash announced for cycling – £1m over two years – from the Department for Health: "in departmental budget terms that’s the spare change they find down the back of the sofa.
Walker wrote: "Despair, cyclists. This is the reality. It’s possible Britain might become a "cycling nation", but at this rate it won’t be happening in my lifetime." Read the full Guardian article here.
ActSmart.biz also took issue with aspects of the Government’s document. It said: "Some of the responses are highly encouraging, and some are downright dismissive.
"Many will feel that the Get Britain Cycling report presented the perfect opportunity to go "further and faster," and that in its response, the government has failed to do just that."
There was a welcome, however, for the announced sentencing review for dangerous driving offences in 2014. Read the full ActSmart.biz article here.
The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain was more forthright in the ‘disappointing’ response. It said evidence for the Government’s own commitment to turning Britain into a cycling nation "is entirely lacking" pointing out the rejection of ring-fencing part of the Highways Agency budget for cycling and also pouring scorn on the budgets discussed for cycling, coming a month after the Government announced £28billion for the strategic road network.
"Strong leadership from central government is required, and yet that responsibility has been ducked." Read the full Cycling Embassy article here.
Cambridge’s CTC told The Cambridge News that the Government’s response was "half-hearted" and the funding announced was ‘too little and too short term".
road.cc’sreport on the story said there were "disappointing key messages" in the response, adding that "Part of the problem is that following years of underinvestment in cycling and its absence in overall transport strategy…we are starting from a very low base, and it is unlikely that changes on the scale of those contemplated by the Get Britain Cycling report would happen overnight."
The CTC has welcomed the response, but said far more is need if "we are to even start catching up with the levels of cycle use common among our continental neighbours".
"CTC readily acknowledges the considerable progress made by the Departments for Transport and for Health in the past 18 months. However, we also believe that far more funding, strengthened cycling design standards and closer collaboration with other Government departments on the promotion of cycling are needed if we are to maximise cycling’s enormous health, economic, environmental and other benefits." Read more on that here.
BikeRight!’s Andy Tucker has weighed in too: "The Government response to the Get Britain Cycling Report leaves our opinion divided, whilst some news is good, such as continued commitment to Bikeability, it’s only until 2016 so not exactly a long-term commitment.
"LSTF is referenced in a number of responses and yes this is providing some excellent local support for cycling particularly in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, but again nothing on what happens next."
There’s a spoof version of the response – ‘The Perfect Fart in a Thunder Storm’ – circulating on the net here (beware some bad language for those easily offended).