Cycling Safety - Transport Committee Contents

1  Introduction

1. In July 2012 we warned that the number of road fatalities should be a wake-up call for the Government to provide stronger leadership on road safety.[1] We warned that, although there was evidence of an increased commitment to cycling safety, without stronger leadership, there would be no progress in the cross-departmental work required to make the roads safer.[2] A year later the Prime Minister called for a "cycling revolution" to make it easier and safer to cycle, and to take the success of the country's track cyclists onto the roads.[3] The safety of these roads for cycling remains, however, a matter of great concern. Despite a small fall in 2013 in the overall number of cyclists killed or seriously injured, the fact that 109 cyclists still lost their lives on the road in Great Britain last year demonstrates the need to look at what steps are required to make our roads a safe place for cyclists of all ages and abilities, reflecting the position of cyclists as valid road users.

2. We launched this inquiry in November 2013 with a call for evidence on the safety of cycling, particularly in cities and towns. We asked the public to share their views on what central and local government could do to improve cycling safety; and on the feasibility and desirability of segregating cyclists from other road users. We also sought tweets highlighting examples of local cycle infrastructure. We received around 140 formal written submissions and numerous tweets. We held three oral evidence sessions in which we heard from cycling groups, motoring organisations, local authorities; the Metropolitan Police; the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency; the Road Haulage Association and Batched on Site Association; Val Shawcross, the then Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee; Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor of London's Cycling Commissioner; Chris Boardman, Adviser to British Cycling; and Robert Goodwill MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport (the Minister). We would like to thank all those who contributed to our inquiry.

3. This Report builds on our Road Safety Report and considers the developments in the two years since the publication of that Report in July 2012. Cycling and road safety have continued to have a prominent place in public debate: in Westminster the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling's Group report, Get Britain Cycling, called for a "transformation of our towns, streets and communities, and to the way we think about cycling"; with a long-term ambition of increasing cycle use from less than 2% of journeys in 2011, to 10% of journeys in 2025 and 25% by 2050.[4] Over 36,000 people have now signed up to The Times "Cities fit for cycling" campaign, which has continued to campaign to improve cyclist safety and for "a different kind of urban realm".[5] There have also been developments in Government policy, not least the Prime Minister's personal commitment outlined at the start of this chapter, but also numerous cycling safety initiatives from the Department for Transport.[6] At a regional level the Mayor of London has published his Vision for Cycling in London, setting out ambitious plans for a "a true Crossrail for the bicycle […] the longest substantially-segregated continuous cycle route of any city in Europe".[7] We have sought to assess the success of these initiatives and to scrutinise proposals for future reforms to make the roads safer for cyclists.

1   Transport Committee, Second Report of Session 2012-13, Road Safety, HC 506, para 52 Back

2   Transport Committee, Second Report of Session 2012-13, Road Safety, HC 506, para 40 Back

3   GOV.UK, Government shifts cycling up a gear (12 August 2013) Back

4   All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, Get Britain Cycling, April 2013 Back

5   "Second gear", The Times, 5 November 2013 Back

6   GOV.UK, Government shifts cycling up a gear (12 August 2013); GOV.UK, Successful THINK! cycle safety campaign extended (24 March 2014), GOV.UK, Major investment in cycle infrastructure, (30 January 2014); GOV.UK, Cash boost to get Britain cycling (28 November 2012) Back

7   Greater London Authority, The Mayor's Vision for Cycling in London, March 2013 Back

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Prepared 18 July 2014