Labour’s meaty manifesto promised that a new Blair government would "seek political consensus in tackling congestion, including examining the potential of moving away from the current system of motoring taxation towards a national system of road-pricing."
Cycling has clear benefits for the health of the nation and, as London has proved, could be a major component of getting cities moving, but the Labour manifesto doesn’t linger on the subject of bikes:
"We will continue funding local authorities and voluntary groups to make cycling and walking more attractive."
And that’s it. No pledge to increase the funding for Cycling England.
The Conservative manifesto – a flimsy publication – ignores cycling altogther but then it’s light on most policy areas apart from the five that the party believes will win it votes.
Transport as a whole gets just three lines: "A modern road network. Review of all speed cameras. Longer rail franchises."
The LibDems are never likely to get into power so can expound on areas the other parties neglect.
On 7th April, the LibDems published a standalone press release on cycling, an unusual move by a mainstream political party in the UK.
John Thurso MP, the LibDem shadow transport secretary, said:
Cycling is a healthy, environmentally friendly, inexpensive mode of transport. More needs to be done to provide better facilities and support for existing cyclists, and provide the conditions to encourage many others to get back on their bikes."
He had a dig at a government that shelved targets rather than fail to meet them:
The government have failed to tackle congestion in our towns and cities and it is no wonder that people have been giving up cycling. Labour have broken promise after promise they made to cyclists, and done little to improve conditions for those who actually do choose to cycle."
The LibDems have a five point plan to increase cycling in the UK. It’s light on detail but perhaps it’s the thought that counts?
Here’s the shopping list:
1.Create an environment which accommodates and supports cycling;
2. Improve integration of public transport with provision for cyclists;
3. Encourage young people to cycle regularly;
4. Emphasise the health benefits of cycling for both adults and children
5. Improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
This list is extensive compared to the cycle policies of Labour and the Tories but CTC has a bunch of manifesto pledges it wants cyclists to impress upon MPs.
The CTC’s manifesto, produced in conjunction with London Cycling Campaign and the Cycle Campaign Network, sets out the actions which are needed to revitalise the National Cycling Strategy, with its original target to quadruple cycle use over 16 years.
The CTC/LCC/CCN manifesto calls for:
1. Better cycling conditions
2. Better funding for cycle training and promotion
3. Better traffic laws and policing
4. Better integration of cycling and wider transport objectives
5. Better integration of cycling across all areas of Government
CTC campaigns and policy manager, Roger Geffen said: Cyclists who would like to see these measures acted upon in the coming parliament can use the Cyclists Manifesto to lobby their MP in the run up to the general election."
Here’s the manifesto: