Choosing Bike Week as a fitting back-drop, Transport Minister Kim Howells announced a government actions plan for walkers and cyclists at the annual Parliamentary bike ride.
Walking and Cycling: An Action Plan is a package of measures designed to promote cycling and walking as healthy and sustainable ways to travel. It includes improvements to cycling infrastructure, investment in cycle / rail facilities, improved training for cyclists and an amendment to the Traffic Management Bill to tackle obstruction of cycle lanes.
The plan acknowledges that progress towards the National Cycling Strategy target to quadruple cycling by 2010 has so far been mixed: “Some local authorities have been very successful… But across England as a whole, we have not succeeded in raising cycling levels significantly above the 1996 baseline”.
There are 42 actions points in the plan, the most salient for cyclists are:
- an amendment to the Traffic Management Bill to give local authorities, as well as police, the power to impose penalties for driving offences such as driving in or obstructing cycle lanes
- an investment of more than £500,000 to upgrade cycle provision at 200 rail stations
- a programme of new links to extend the National Cycle Network to hundreds of schools and better training in child pedestrian and cycling skills, including a new National Standard for Child Cycle Training
For new cyclists there’s also going to be a new cycling website, www.bikeforall.net, aiming to give introductory information on bikes, routes and road use skills.
We’ve read the whole plan and while there’s some very good and sensible ideas in there, we’d really like to see more emphasis on educating drivers as to their role in creating safer streets for cyclists and more action taken against reckless and aggressive drivers.
The CTC have welcomed the plan but are already campaigning to ensure that it’s backed up with proper financing when the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the review of the 10-Year Plan for Transport are announced in July.
CTC Campaigns and Policy Manager, Roger Geffen, said: “Cycling and walking are cheap but they are not free. The Government needs to allocate funding for the Plan to succeed. And we also urge them to recommit to quadruple cycle use to 8% of journeys – still only a modest target in comparison with many of our continental neighbours.”
You can read the full, 68-page document yourselves, just skip to the last four pages for the action points.