CTC has written to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling calling for action to back pledges on integrated transport and cycle provision, and wants legislation to force rail operators to provide a minimum number of bike spaces on trains.

CTC wants new law to force rail operators to make space for bikes

The CTC demand follows confirmation that South Central Trains (SCT) could throw cyclists off new south coast and London bound services if disabled passengers need the space allocated for both bikes and wheelchairs.

Two months ago, South West Trains (SWT), which runs services from London to Berkshire and Surrey, gave commuters two working days’ notice of its bike ban on peak time services.

Demand for cycle carriage by train is substantial, said CTC.

* A CTC survey in June 2002 found that at peak times, up to 42 cycles went through the barriers for SCT services at Brighton within 30 minutes

* A four week survey of rail journeys between Surbiton and Farnborough in 2001 found that an average of 11 cycles was carried at peak times on each journey.

* A five month survey in 2000 found that an average of 11 cyclists used coastal and London bound peak and off peak trains.

* A survey of CTC members in 1998 found that 25% commuted by bike-rail, 24% said they would like to, 29% used bike-rail for leisure and 43% would like to. Back in 1992, 75% of members said that they took their bikes on trains.

In a letter to Darling, Tom Bogdanowicz, CTC’s Public Transport Campaigner wrote:

"The combination of cycle and rail is a perfect example of integration at work. It takes moments to decide on a bike ban or bike-unfriendly trains; it takes years to rebuild patterns of travel. British trains are in danger of becoming a no-go area for cyclists.

"The government is reviewing its ten year transport plan and CTC wants legislation to force train operators to retain existing bike carriage facilities – guards vans, for example, carry 12 bikes – and provide a minimum of six bike spaces, including storage for one tandem or recumbent, in other trains.

"If what it takes to retain, or increase, cycle carriage is primary legislation or a forthright push by the government, you should have the confidence to take the required steps.

"Increased cycle use relieves traffic congestion, more bikes on the road improve cycle safety, more cycle tourism boosts regional economies, improved health reduces the burden on the NHS and fewer cars on the roads significantly reduce pollution."

CTC has also urged the government to force the Strategic Rail Authority to make cycle carriage a condition for new trains.

Bogdanowicz said: "We want solutions not excuses. It is not too late to insist on changes to trains or retain slam door services expressly for cycle carriage and other passengers with luggage or large pushchairs."

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