Back in November, the excellent Julian Huppert MP and colleagues from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group submitted a motion to the House of Commons, entitled Get Britain Cycling. The motion supported cycling in general and particularly the Cities fit for Cycling campaign being run by the The Times.
Both the motion and The Times campaign seemed worth supporting, so I fired off a letter to my MP, the Rt. Hon. Frank Dobson, asking him to sign the motion.
My letter is reproduced below:
Dear Mr Dobson,
I am writing to draw your attention to the excellent ’Cities fit for Cycling Campaign’ run by The Times newspaper, and publicly accessible at http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/, as well as Early Day Motion 679: Get Britain Cycling, proposed by Julian Huppert and others from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
Within the constituency, we are lucky to have relatively good cycling infrastructure in some places; segregated cycle paths, 20mph areas and advanced stop lines at many junctions. However, we are also home to some terrible junctions that are very difficult to navigate by bike, such as the junction between Torrington Place and Tottenham Court Road, where the cycle lane weaves from the right-hand side of traffic to the left-hand side, or much of the one-way system around Kings Cross station which has already claimed lives.
I know you are interested in issues for Central London and transport, and with that in mind, I ask you sign the EDM and support the measures contained in the ’Cities fit for Cycling’ manifesto:
- Lorries entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
- The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
- A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
- Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
- The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
- 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
- Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
- Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.
I think you will agree that these aims are both possible and sensible.
Over the Christmas holidays, I finally got a less than pleasing response, below:
Dear Mr. Streetley,
I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 9 November about the Cities Fit for Cycling campaign. I apologise for the delay in replying.
I have already signed the Early Day Motion 679 that you refer to in your letter under the provision everyone believes that to strengthen road traffic law and its enforcement applies to cyclists jumping lights and riding on pavements.
So whilst Frank Dobson has signed the motion, it is only because he believes cyclists are part of the problem, not part of the solution to sustainable transport in London. I expected better from a man who was once the Shadow Transport Secretary and whose stated interests include Central London and transport.