Today, there was some wonderful testimony given at the Commons Transport Select Committee about improving the safety of our environment for people in cars, on bicycles or travelling by foot (aka drivers, cyclists and pedestrians). Here are some of the highlights. The full presentation is in the video embedded below. An article about this meeting is also in The Times: Ministers ‘to act on danger junctions’.
Jon Snow, a well known television news presenter on Channel 4 made many helpful comments and recommendations (see video around the 11:02 time mark):
“We do more for football supporters than we do for cyclists – we actually try to save their lives those football supporters…”
“Legal compulsion to make provision for cyclists is absolutely essential – and that means where people live: so they can cycle from where they live to where they work; from where they live to where they go to school…”
He emphasized his point about planning,
“…there has to be compulsion in the planning system to make provision in every new urban development for the bicycle and that includes parking bicycles.”
“The planners just as they have to plan a road [should] have to plan pedestrian access and cycling access. These should be the three transport commitments…the citizen uses the bike, the feet and the car; and those three items need to be accommodated in every new plan.”
Also giving helpful comments is James Harding, Editor of The Times newspaper, who has been running a series of articles following on from their manifesto to improve safety for people on bicycles (#CycleSafe):
“We would argue for 20mph speed limit in residential areas where there are not segregated cycle ways…that is safer but I think that it would re-enforce the sense that the interests of cyclists and drivers are aligned – drivers want to go faster in which case for that to happen there needs to be segregated cycle ways.”
– James Harding, Editor of The Times
On that point, there is currently a plan for a redesigned roundabout in Basingstoke (it was featured in the Basingstoke Gazette last Thursday, see HERE). There is no provision for bicycles, and they even said pedestrian access was to be blocked. Clearly, planning departments must change so that applicants realise they must include provision for people on bicycles and on foot.
Following their testimony, two ministers gave answer to many of the questions asked by people through twitter using the hash tag #AskCycleMinisters last week (including a couple from me – tough to think of ones that hadn’t already been asked. In the end there were over 700 questions asked).
Our Government ministers didn’t do well when they manipulated statistics to ‘prove’ the UK is tops for safety of people on bicycles. By their maths, we should get the Canadians to pop over here to the UK so they can learn about ice hockey safety from us. Read reaction to the government’s testimony HERE.