Sustrans to tell this week's inquiry hearing at Parliament that 'people are crying out for safe cycle routes'

If you build it, they will come (and cycle)

The next round of the ‘Get Britain Cycling‘ inquiry will take place on Wednesday and Sustrans will be using the session to argue that building safe, continuous cycle routes will raise the number of cyclists.

Advocating segregated cycle lanes where possible, the sustainable transport charity will also outline a number of infrastructure requirements to increase UK cycling levels. Those include:

  • Cycling infrastructure to cater for the needs of the less confident cyclists
  • Greater segregation of cyclists from motor traffic
  • Lower traffic speeds limits
  • Reallocation of road space
  • Engineering/design guidance that addresses cyclists’ needs
  • Long term commitment from central government to support cycling
  • Urban development and planning that makes cycling as convenient as driving.

Britain – briefly – led the world in cycle infrastructure provision, with the Ministry of Transport installing 100 miles of bike paths alongside newly-built artertial roads between 1934 and 1938. However, plans for a more ambitious roll-out were cancelled due to the outbreak of WWII.

“People are crying out for safe cycle routes that allow them to make cheap and healthy journeys around their local communities," said Sustrans engineering manager Tony Russell.

“We must start planning for cycling when we first think about designing our streets, homes and communities so people have the opportunity to be healthy and active when they travel.

“Providing segregated cycling lanes is the most effective way to get people cycling; in situations where segregation isn’t feasible we must look at other alternatives to make cycling safe, such as lower traffic speeds.”

The inquiry – which will be filing a report for the government in April – is being held by the All-party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and is backed by the UK Cycling Alliance, seeking the views of organisations and individuals on how the government can help get more people cycling. Witnesses are presenting evidence on a range of issues affecting cycling in the UK including road safety, urban design and how public transport and cycling can be integrated.

A report of the Inquiry’s findings will be presented to government in April 2013.

While welcoming the inquiry, some pundits (including our own executive editor Carlton Reid and various commenters on our Facebook pages) have emphasised the point that the inquiry and report will need to be backed with action and cash in order to be have an effect upon cycle levels in the UK. 

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