Bernard Jenkin MP, Shadow Transport Minister, got on his bike earlier today to promote the Conservatives new two-wheeled strategy

Tories launch new cycling policy

The Tories are normally seen as pro-car but they have three cycling claims to fame.

One, Norman Tebbit popularised the phrase on your bike.

Two, Sir George Young, the minister responsible for privatising the railways, was very pro-cyclist, he and his wife still ride a tandem.

Three, it was the Conservatives who launched the National Cycling Strategy, an initiative adopted by New Labour but which was recently watered down. The targets for increases in cycle usage have been radically trimmed back.

So, whilst todays launch was odd, it does have a bit of history behind it. And, the launch was held on a good day for getting around London by bike: there was a tube drivers strike.

Bernard Jenkin MP a cyclist donned fluorescent bicycle clips and a helmet to promote the Tories new policy.

"Here is a day when the Tube is on strike and everybody is saying I wish I had a bike, he said.

"We want people to see cycling as a choice. For shorter journeys, cycling is quick, cheap and environmentally friendly. My bike has more than paid for itself over the past few years.

"Many people will choose to use their bike more often if cycling was made safer and more convenient."

Jenkin, who often rides to work, told journalists today that only 1 percent of all journeys in Britain were made by bicycle, compared with 6.6 percent in the Netherlands and 5.8 percent in Denmark.

"The current government has done nothing to improve this. They have even got rid of targets we set to double cycling over this Parliament."

The new initiative includes:

Setting targets to reduce cycling deaths and injuries.

Better information about cycle routes.

Proposed segregation of bike lanes with rumble strips.

Strict enforcement of penalties for motorists parked in cycle lanes.

The biking MP finished with a flourish: "Cycling initiatives are not about huge sums of money but about phasing cycling into every other decision made about transport."

Hear, hear. Of course, the Tories havent a chance in hell of being elected but heres hoping that todays policy launch prods New Labour into creating a pro-bike policy of their own.

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