Witnesses in this afternoon’s sixth, and final, session of the Get Britain Cycling inquiry will answer questions on the government’s role in cycle safety, including the need for leadership, cross-departmental cooperation and ambitious targets.
Norman Baker MP and Stephen Hammond MP will represent the Department for Transport, and Carl Sargeant AM will represent the Welsh Assembly. Jon Snow from Channel 4 News and the Mayor of London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan will also give evidence as will representatives from the European Cyclists’ Federation and the Dutch Cycling Embassy.
Kevin Mayne, development director at the European Cyclists’ Federation, will be appearing by video link and is expected to cite measures which have led to an increase in cycling in other countries, measures that don’t always include provision of infrastructure.
The ‘Get Britain Cycling’ Inquiry – which is backed by the major cycling organisations – is seeking views on how the government can help get more people cycling by making it safer and more accessible.
The inquiry’s findings will be presented to Government in April. The publication of the Get Britain Cycling report, written by Professor Phil Goodwin, is sponsored by the Bicycle Association and News International, in support of The Times’ ‘cities safe for cyclists’ campaign.
Sustrans is calling on Baker and Hammond to outline a clear action plan for cycling at the evidence giving session this afternoon.
Sustrans policy director Jason Torrance said: "With rising obesity levels meaning that today’s children have a lower life expectancy than their parents, the government simply cannot ignore the need to get Britain active.
“Cycling can help rescue the UK from the grips of this obesity crisis and save the NHS millions – ministers must outline a clear plan to make this a reality.
“The message from this inquiry is crystal clear – if we are to reap the vast benefits of more cycling we urgently need leadership from government, improved education, infrastructure and funding."
Sustrans has called for a number of measures from the government, including:
- Introduce a national default speed limit of 20mph in residential areas
- Allocate at least 10 per cent of transport budgets to increasing cycling levels
- Build more safe cycling routes across the UK
- Invest to achieve a quarter of children cycling to school regularly
- See health and transport departments work together to ensure cycling is central to future public health plans.