Our pick of the most influential politicians and advocates in the cycle world

BikeBiz Brit List 2014: Politicians and cycle advocates

At the end of last year BikeBiz asked for your help to put together the BikeBiz Brit List 2014, in association with The London Bike Show, listing the most influential people in UK cycling.

Click here for the the media entries.
Click here for the cycle industry entries.
Click here for the cycle sport world entries.

And here are the politicians and cycle advocates picked out…

Ian Austin MP and Julian Huppert MP
Co-Chairs, All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group
We don’t know how active ‘All Party Parliamentary Groups’ usually are, but we do know that the one for cycling (the APPCG), led by co-chairs Ian Austin MP and Julian Huppert MP, has been increasingly busy lately opening doors for cycle advocates in the corridors of power. That activity perhaps peaked last year with the headline grabbing All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group-led ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.

With multiple evidence sessions featuring MPs, advocates and the likes of Chris Boardman, the resultant Get Britain Cycling report is a fine blueprint for the ‘powers that be’ to boost cycling. Austin and Huppert will no doubt be chief amongst those who won’t let the Government forget about it, either.

While Ministers come and go into Westminster roles, Austin and Huppert provide some much needed continuity for cycling in Parliament.

George Ferguson CBE
Mayor of Bristol
Bristol has struck it lucky with cycling-savvy mayor George Ferguson, also a founding member of Sustrans.
Swiftly moving to make Bristol a more liveable city, Ferguson has begun to introduce parking zones to reduce the amount of cars in the city centre and encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking. In November last year it was revealed that Bristol will benefit from ‘Dutch style’ cycling lanes, making it the first UK city to adopt that cycling infrastructure.

Being one of the few Mayors to set a firm cycling target, Ferguson is looking to achieve 20 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020. It is believed that Bristol already has the highest percentage of cyclists for any city’s population in the UK, so the appointment of Ferguson might be a perfect storm for the city, proving that London doesn’t have the monopoly on cycling infrastructure.

Roger Geffen
Campaigns and Policy Director, CTC
A former London Cycling Campaign volunteer and local Government official, Geffen has been with the CTC since 2002 in the senior role of Campaigns and Policy Director. That requires Geffen to persuade politicians, media types and the wider general public of the need to work to improve cycle conditions on the road.

Recently Geffen has given evidence at the Get Britain Cycling inquiry, lambasted Government splashing out on new roads, questioned Traffic Police’s knowledge of the laws around cycling, urged HGV limitations to make cycling safer in cities and a great deal more. In short, Geffen is the CTC’s mouthpiece on hot button cycle topics, representing the 70,000 member-strong organisation. That alone means Geffen should hold some sway (and keep the pressure on) Britain’s decision makers.

Andrew Gilligan
Cycling Commissioner for London
Originally an award winning journalist and radio presenter Andrew Gilligan became London’s Cycling Commissioner in 2013, a new role created by London’s Mayor and one which he is enthused about as a cyclist himself.

With oversight of Transport for London’s cycling policy and investment priorities, Gilligan is highly qualified to do the job, having thought up the Evening Standard’s 2007 safer cycling campaign. Working three days per week as commissioner, Gilligan has other roles, having also become the host of the Sunday Politics show on LBC 97.3 in March last year. Alongside the Mayor, Gilligan launched last year’s much publicised and pretty inspirational ‘billion pound plan to civilise London’. Charged to make happen the Mayor’s ambition to double cyclists in London, big things are expected from the capital’s ‘cycling czar’.

Boris Johnson
Mayor of London
A controversial entry, Johnson has his fans and he has his critics, but few generate as much mainstream media interest in cycling and the issues surrounding two-wheel travel. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Having vowed to press for a cycling revolution, the Mayor’s office has been praised for closing London streets for events such as Skyride and RideLondon, giving people the chance to experience cycling the capital traffic-free.

It’s the cycling infrastructure and subsequent delays in rectifying accident blackspots that has caused Boris the biggest headaches to date, with campaigners pointing the finger at the Mayor for not moving quickly enough to introduce segregated lanes and safer junctions. Thankfully some progress is happening on the ground, with the Mayor opening the first fully segregated lanes last year.

Baroness Jenny Jones
Green Party, London Assembly
The Green Party Life Peer goes where fellow Peers and MPs fear to tread, speaking up for cycling and putting her name behind the kind of initiatives that usually send politicians running in the opposite direction, such as calls for the introduction of ‘presumed liability’ to bring us in line with Holland. Jones has sat on the London Assembly from 2000, since when London cycling has been transformed. She lost to Boris Johnson in the 2012 London Mayoral elections, but her manifesto had by far the strongest measures for cycling of all the mayoral hopefuls. Jones stood up for cyclists when she joined the boycott Addison Lee campaign and she published the ‘lawless roads’ report, advocating greater use of driving bans and other measures to protect all road users. Jones continues to keep pressure on Mayors and Assembly members alike to provide for cyclists.

Ashok Sinha
Chief Executive, London Cycling Campaign
At the last Bicycle Association AGM, London Cycling Campaign (LLC) chief exec Ashok Sinha explained how the LCC had changed tack to get heavily involved in advocacy, working with cyclists and non-cyclists to convince the powers that be that cyclists must be provided for on the roads. But we didn’t need him to tell us the LCC has been increasingly active in advocacy, giving cyclists a louder voice in the capital. It’s hard to overstate how active and influential the LCC has been with Sinha at the helm, from organising critical mass rides to galvanising Londoners to lobby their MPs and Mayoral hopefuls about cycling. That latter campaign – coined Love London, Go Dutch – had Sinha as one of its main drivers and saw all the Mayoral hopefuls make cycle promises. It’s probably fair to say that when TfL now designs a new road layout they think ‘what would the LCC say about this?’

Edmund King
President, The Automobile Association (AA)
In amongst the hyperbole around the so-called ‘war on the roads’ a highly credible voice from the world of motoring – Edmund King, president of the AA – has been preaching that, instead, we should be sharing the roads. It’s a message the head of the powerful organisation has been repeating far and wide, but that’s not the only reason why he’s on this list. That sharing the road culture from King has filtered down into possibly unmeasurably positive practicalities – the AA and BSM driving schools (the latter part of the AA Driving Services) have introduced a cycle awareness module for their thousands of learner drivers. While King isn’t influencing the latest frame design, in our opinion it’s hard to put a value to the trade on the largest provider of driver training in the UK giving drivers skills to drive safely around cyclists before they’ve dropped their ‘L’ plates.

The BikeBiz Brit List supplement, in association with The London Bike Show, will be included in the March edition of BikeBiz.

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