If we invest in cycling, we will all share the benefits
Cycling is a healthy, sustainable way of getting about that other countries have had the foresight to promote and invest in. In this country we are far behind. Cycling in London has trebled in the last 10 years, but investment in cycling has not kept pace so that cyclists are killed and injured far too often, and many thousands of people who would like to cycle are simply afraid to do so – with good reason.
The benefits of cycling are clear. It generates no pollution, uses no fossil fuels, doesn’t add to climate change, reduces congestion on the roads for all road users, reduces pressure on parking spaces, and helps those who do it keep fit and healthy. Journey times are less affected by traffic and more predictable. Bikes are cheap and easy to maintain. BUT cycling is seen as dangerous – because cyclists are forced to share narrow roads with not just cars but also buses and lorries.
There have been improvements – but too few and not always well designed. Cycle lanes marked by white lines don’t protect cyclists; cycle lanes separated from cars by kerbs keep other vehicles away, but are often so narrow that bikes cannot pass each other. The result is that all bikes must move at the pace of the slowest – which means that most cyclists don’t use them. We need adaptations for cycling designed by cyclists, not bureaucrats! And there are too many junctions that remain death traps for cyclists. Cycle superhighways are a start, but still aren’t safe and there aren’t enough of them. The Quietways programme will help as well – but we need more, more quickly.
Training and confidence is another big issue. We need more training, and it needs to be much better promoted so that those who would like to cycle but just don’t have the confidence to even look into it know that they can get training and be helped into a new way of travelling that will make them healthier and reduce pollution for all of us.
Vote for the candidate who will stand up for cyclists, and get things done that really help.