All Party Cycling Group inquiry starts rolling
The first session of the Get Britain Cycling inquiry - on strategy - will explore the need for leadership on cycling and examine the comparisons with other European countries.
Witnesses include representatives of the main cycling organisations in the UK - CTC, British Cycling, Sustrans and Cyclenation.
Roger Geffen, CTC's campaigns director, will be giving CTC's evidence, and focussing on the need to join up various government departments' policies on cycling, with specific actions recommended for each department. He will also argue that even with clear strategic direction, local authorities need to increase the capacity of skilled staff and strengthen policies to implement good quality cycling facilities. CTC's Cycletopia campaign shows that well designed and planned schemes to promote cycling are happening in Britain - but what is needed is to join these together in one location in order to really revolutionise conditions for cycling.
The Inquiry will present the government with a unique opportunity to respond with rapid, concrete actions to Get Britain Cycling. We know that cycling is fantastic for individuals, communities and the whole country, and there are great examples of cycle-friendly places dotted around Britain, but across the whole country we have a lot of catching up to do. CTC members will follow the Inquiry with interest, and will hope the government doesn't miss its chance.
CTC Chief Executive
In addition to these witnesses, various experts will be giving evidence:
- Rachel Aldred: Senior Lecturer in Transport at Westminster University, Rachel led on a 'Cycling Cultures' project, looking at local factors that enable or hinder the growth of cycling. Now involved in 'Changing commutes' (looking at how social interactions can affect people’s decisions on cycle use) and 'Modelling on the move' (asking how transport modelling can better address major health and sustainability issues).
- Lynn Sloman: Independent consultant on sustainable transport and a former member of the National Cycling Strategy Board. Helped evaluate Cycling England’s 'Cycling Towns' programme. Has specialised in investigating the effectiveness of 'smarter choices' programmes to promote sustainable transport choices, e.g. in schools, workplaces etc.
- Phillip Darnton: Former CEO of Raleigh with a marketing background, he chaired the National Cycling Strategy Board and its successor, Cycling England, the key programmes of which included 'Cycling Towns' and Bikeability cycle training. Now Executive Director of the Bicycle Association (representing UK cycle manufacturers), he also chairs the DfT-backed Cycle-Rail Task Force.
Finally, three witnesses from media organisations will be giving their views:
- The Times – Kaya Burgess (features writer) and Philip Pank (transport correspondent): The driving forces behind the Times’s 'Cities fit for cycling' campaign and its 8-point manifesto, launched after their colleague Mary Bowers was suffered serious brain injuries in a lorry collision. It attracted huge public and political support, transforming cycling’s political fortunes in 2012.
- The Guardian – Peter Walker. Lead author of the Guardian’s Bike Blog, he was the first journalist to break the BBC’s embargo ahead of its controversial 'War on Britain’s Roads' programme. The Guardian has carried an article explaining the background to the inquiry.
- BikeBiz – Carlton Reid. Besides setting up the BikeBiz cycle industry magazine and website, Carlton masterminded the Bike Hub website (funded by the Bicycle Association), created I Pay Road Tax .com (to debunk the myths about 'road tax'), and is researching the links between cycling advocates and the early growth of Britain’s road network.
Future sessions - all of which run from 0930-1130 in Parliament - include:
- Safety - 30 January 2013
- Planning and design - 6 February
- Active lifestyles - 13 February
- The local perspective - 27 February
- Government - 6 March
The public are welcome to attend the sessions on a first come, first served basis - but make sure you allow at least 20 minutes to get through security at the Houses of Parliament (Cromwell Green entrance). The first session will be in Committee Room 13.
Alternatively, CTC and other organisations will be live-tweeting the sessions at #getbritaincycling.
The final report will be published at the end of April.