Get Britain Cycling

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Get Britain Cycling

Dear All

As you as are no doubt aware, the Get Britain Cycling report was released this week. The full version may be found here.

I would like to throw the debate open to CEoGBers about what you all think of it? Do you feel that it is a far reaching report that we should embrace or does it not go far enough and why.

My personal view (and not CEoGB's) is that, although good in some areas still has the fickle hand of compromise written all over it and seems to have been heavily influenced by CTC, especially where we see items such as 'Cycling Action Plan' which always makes my heart sink. We don't need more reports or action plans, we just need action and cycling being accepted seriously as a mode of transport requiring it's own network would be a good start. I don't think it's a bad report but I wasn't punching the air when I finished reading it.

Anyhoo, over to you!

Jim Davis

Chair, Cycling Embassy of Great Brritain


I think that as an over-arching document and recommendations the Get Britain Cycling report is a fine piece of work.

the reasons for getting more people on bikes is clear as is the very strong recommendation of leadership from the top.

My main concern is that central government will duck the issue, applauding and commending it, but pass the responsibilities down to local authorities. At that point it all becomes hazy as different LAs have different views and ways of interpreting what is needed.

Few seem to not understand the concept of "dutch" style infrastructure, and taking one small element of dutch transport, embedding it, and calling the whole thing Dutch.

What I feel is needed and seems to be lacking is the concept of strong national design guidelines which are binding on local authorities. We do it for roads, why not for cycle infrastructure?

Also, this is just not about councils building bike lanes, large corporations, especially shops need to do more to encourage and politely coerce people into using bicycles. Many stores are surrounded by vast car parks and have no bicycle parking whatsoever, or what is there is practically unusable. These need to be made to honour their responsibilities and install safe seperated links across the car parks for bikes, and to ensure that plentiful secure convenient cycle parking is installed at all times. They can set aside parking for people with kids, why not bikes?

James Gleave

The report itself tells a very convincing story about how cycling is not just a transport investment, but a social and economic investment as well. Of course much of this we have known for years, but this is the first time that Parliament has had all of this in one place, for reference, complete with an achievable blueprint not just for Government but for others to pick up and run with. For that, all those who gave evidence, and the report author Phil Goodwin must be commended.

My concern is not with the report itself, but with the nature of the APPCG. I am in no doubt that all members are very passionate about cycling, believe in the recommendations of the report, and are who-heartedly committed to improving our towns and cities, the committee is advisory in nature. Government departments routinely ignore the recommendations of Select Committee reports, and All Party Groups have less influence than them.

Where their power lies is their ability to influence other MPs. Now they have this convincing report, they can whack others over the head with it (figuratively speaking, though seeing it actually happen would be most amusing), and use their powers of influence to get it delivered. Its the only way that the works of All Party Groups gets done.

The report also laid bare the scale of the challenge to improve cycling infrastructure. Professionals now have the role to push the case for these changes, secure additional funds, and work out get-arounds of the regulations in the interim. Lots of work is being done by very committed professionals on this. The pace of change is glacial, but we're getting there.

Finally, I was very amused to see the report recommending establishing a cycling champion. Until 2010 we had that, it was called Cycling England who did fantastic work in furthering the cause of cycling in Government, sharing best practice, doing research, and supporting the Cycle Demonstration Towns who showed that with investment cycling rates can increase. Its abolishion set cycling's cause back years.

Delivery of the recommendations of this report requires almost an entire culture change, which can be done by evolution or revolution. The evolution is happening, slowly and precariously. But it would be nice for Government to give us a helping hand!

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