Yesterday was Cycling Debate. Three political parties had a chance to say how much they would do for our towns and cities, to help more people cycle.
Later the same day, Stop Killing Cyclists held their fourth vigil in 2015, for a cyclist that was killed in near Victoria Station. The 18th person to be killed riding a bike this year.
We seem to be going round in perpetual circles when it comes to cycling in the UK. We know what the social and economic benefits are. There are even recommendation. We know our streets are too crowded with cars, buses and lorries to get anywhere. We know air is unbreathable in some of our busiest streets. We are appalled at the early death of people, not just from road traffic incidents but also the state of our health, thanks to a sedentary lifestyle and processed food.
People on bikes, still have to put up with days being like this.
Yet, yet political parties that have had ample opportunity to change this, have done very little. The Conservative led coalition proposed £200 million for cycling in 2014, but then also committed £5 billion to road building.
Conservatives though try to push the emphasis onto cash strapped local councils to increase cycling, Labour won’t commit to any level of budget and who can trust the LibDems when they say they will budget (or would aim for) £10 per person, per year?
Do we have a bike boom?
Three of the most influential voices in UK cycling talked on Jack Thurstons, Bike Show, this week. Carlton Reid (BikeBiz) and John Stevenson (road.cc) discussed whether the UK is really going through a boom in cycling.
The young, the fit and the brave. Well, two out of three in my case.
Now they both raised valid points but one of John’s rang very true. The current boom, if that’s what we have, is inspite of Government action, not because of it.
There were three reasons I took to the bike for commuting. To avoid public (read privately run) transport; for my own health (mental and physical); because I love riding a bike.
At no time did I think, “You know what, I’ll cycle to work because we have such a wonderful joined and safe cycling infrastructure.” In fact the first time I went to what is now my local bike shop, they asked if I would be cycling the 13 miles to work. I thought they were mad. “On our roads?”
As Carlton Reid pointed out at the end of the podcast, the Infrastructure Bill,
will should bring in a lot more funding for cycling. These things have a funny way of not happening.