The Embassy are merely duplicating the effort of existing campaigns, who are fighting for the same things

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Summary of the claim

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Example sources

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Summary of responses

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In more detail

When the inaugural meeting of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain was held in January 2011, we were startled at the level of debate and support it received. The Embassy has been formed specifically to campaign for decent cycling infrastructure based on proven best practice in mainland Europe and around the world, as well as mechanisms to make it happen. To achieve this, we believe that the bicycle must be regarded as a serious mode of transport by government as opposed to a peripheral activity carried out in specialist clothing that shouldn’t interfere with traffic flow. We also wanted to examine through fresh eyes different ways of taking cycling to the general public as well as appealing to the 97% of people that don’t ride a bicycle in Britain regularly.

Cycle infrastructure in Britain to us sums up with crystal clarity what local and national government thinks of cycling. The problem is that it continues to be built whether we want it or not and the non-cycling public thinks that it is what cyclists have asked for. Also, the infrastructure is often shoehorned around a car-centric environment, which rarely makes cycling look inviting and often brings cyclists into direct conflict with pedestrians and disability groups.

We are the only organisation in Britain specifically campaigning for infrastructure based on Dutch and Danish principles of separation. We wish to see minimum standards in place, as we believe that the current guidelines, although very well intentioned, are too open to misinterpretation by local authorities. There are many technicians and engineers that would quite happily design something wonderful to help enable mass cycling, (maybe even coming up with solutions unique to the UK that other countries with high modal shares haven’t even thought of) but can’t.

Local and national campaign groups often waste precious voluntary time getting involved in ‘consultations’ and ‘strategies’ that rarely get converted into action. We all deserve better than this and we would like to see local groups under CycleNation having something meatier to work with than Section 106 money, broken promises and a bicycle symbol on a pavement.

All this obviously requires the golden egg that is political will. For this, cycling needs to show a united front and the Embassy is happy to support other cycle groups where appropriate. We will never be the venerable CTC or CycleNation, nor would we wish to be. They do what they do well and they have seen cycling in Britain through some dark times indeed.

If we can create conditions for mass cycling in Britain, then the implications for all cycling groups are very bright, as people take cycling more seriously and maybe get involved with campaigning locally. Above all we want to make riding a bike as easy as – riding a bike.

Further reading

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Related claims

Other claims from the same category in the Common claims and canards section of the Wiki.