“We have a long way to go,” says Chris Boardman in response to a British Cycling survey which found that 93% of its members have safety concerns when riding on the road. British Cycling’s policy advisor will appear at a national government conference in Bristol today to speak of a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ to change the country for the better through investing in cycling.
Boardman was responding to a survey of British Cycling’s 100,000 members which revealed that 93% have safety concerns when riding on the road. In calling for more investment, he points to the government’s own studies which confirmed that investing in cycling gives a 5:1 return. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that now is a once in a lifetime opportunity to change this country for the better for us and our children.”
Cycling is an obvious solution to many current issues, he says – but one which demands investment.
“Obesity is not only killing 37,000 people in the UK every year, when all the effects are factored in, it’s costing us almost one billion pounds every week. A large part of the solution to this problem – not to mention pollution, congestion and social issues – is glaringly, frighteningly simple.
“For these problems to be solved, the solution needs to be invisible, built into our everyday lives, unnoticed. The solution is in how we move. British Cycling’s member survey highlights that, in this present moment, even regular cyclists are concerned for their safety on our roads. We have a long way to go."
Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill recently revealed that the Department for Transport currently allocates just 0.7% of its total budget to cycling despite around 2% of all journeys in Britain being made by bike. However, this looks set to rise as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will today announce £214m in cycling funding. The money will be divided between the Highways agency and eight cities which have previously received Cycle City Ambition funding.
However, Sustrans chief executive, Malcolm Shepherd, contrasted the amount being given to cycling with the £24 billion the coalition has earmarked for spending on roads. Both Sustrans and CTC have backed the call for annual investment in cycling of at least £10 per person.
In the British Cycling survey, the top hazards listed were unsafe road surfaces and vehicles overtaking too closely. Vehicles travelling too quickly and cycle lanes that are too narrow or which stop suddenly were also considered common problems. The top priority for British Cycling members was mutual respect between all road users, closely followed by the need for protected space on main roads.