Coalition Government's spring-clean of road regs ignored cyclists. Not any more.

BikeBiz shames roads minister into u-turn on ‘red tape challenge’

At the end of May BikeBiz reported that the Department for Transport’s seven person expert panel discussing the red-tape challenge didn’t include a cycling representative.

The initiative aimed at reducing bureaucracy is being run across the whole of Whitehall and when it was the DfT’s turn to run the challenge an expert panel of road users was created, but it didn’t include any representation from cycling groups. 

The original expert panel was made up of Simon Best of the Institute of Advanced Motorists; Theo de Pencier of the Freight Transport Association; Rob Gifford of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety; Edmund King, president of the AA; John Lewis of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association; David Quarmby of the RAC Foundation for Motoring; and Steve Salmon of the Confederation for Passenger Transport.

BikeBiz cried foul and this story was passed to Ian Austin MP, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Club. Yesterday he raised the matter in Parliament.

In a parliamentary question he asked why "no organisation representing cyclists was included among the experts championing the Red Tape Challenge on Road Transport; and if he will nominate such an expert as soon as possible."

Roads minister Mike Penning (the minister who thinks it’s motorists alone who pay for roads) trotted out the pre-existing DfT line that "there are relatively few regulations governing the use of cycling—only five out of over 400 in the whole of this section of the red tape challenge" but then admitted "we have recently met with representatives of British Cycling, CTC and the Bicycle Association of Great Britain to discuss the red tape challenge."

Possible issues of concern to be raised from a cycling point of view are for more protection in law and for the amendment of the Cycle Racing on Highways Regulations 1960 which provides for the authorisation of cycle racing events on the public highway.

And of particular interest to the bicycle trade, regulations such as the law that requires reflectors to be fitted to all pedals – even clipless, often an impossibility – may also be nominated for scrapping.

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