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Green Party backs presumed liability and pledges £30 per head a year for cycling

Party outlines its policies in response to #ChooseCycling network

The Green Party says it wants to see a system of presumed liability introduced to protect vulnerable road users and also aims to reduce dependency on cars and get more people cycling and walking.

Those are two of the policies outlined in the party’s response to the #ChooseCycling network, co-ordinated by British Cycling, in which major businesses asked party leaders to make pledges related to cycling ahead of the general election.

Separately, the Green Party has said it would spend £30 per person annually on cycling, similar to the levels seen in countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark.

In its response to the #ChooseCycling network, whose members include GSK, Orange, Santander and Sky, the party said it “wholeheartedly supports cycling."

It went on: “We recognise it not only as a mode of transport that offers a more sustainable alternative for the increasingly car-dependent population, but also as a fun and healthy activity that can increase people’s quality of life.

“We recognise that we need to reduce the number of journeys made by car and switch as many journeys as possible to walking and cycling.

“We plan to ensure that cyclists get their fair share of road space by directing funding that prioritises cycling.

“Funding should be allocated flexibly to make safe convenient routes that address the needs of pedestrians and cyclists while reducing any risk of conflict between them.

“Additionally, we will provide cycle parking throughout towns and cities at locations where there is demand, and invest in on-street secure cycle storage in residential streets.

“We also support 20mph zones and cycle schemes, to make our streets safer and more enjoyable to cycle and walk in.”

The party also promised to introduce changes to the legal system designed to protect cyclists and others who are vulnerable on the roads.

That includes bringing in presumed liability, similar to that operating under civil law throughout most member states of the European Union.

It said a “greater duty of care should be expected of drivers in reducing injury and intimidation to vulnerable road users.

“We believe that motor vehicle drivers should be presumed liable for injuries to pedestrians and cyclists.

“Newly manufactured lorries must be equipped with best practice technology to make sure that drivers are fully aware of the presence of all pedestrians and cyclists.

“Lorries already in use must be retro-fitted with the same equipment and lorries not so equipped will not be allowed into our towns and cities.”

At the last general election in 2010, Caroline Lucas won the Green Party’s first ever parliamentary seat, Brighton Pavilion, and the party also controls Brighton & Hove City Council.

It says that there, it has “introduced the largest connected 20mph zone in the country, and casualties dropped by 19 per cent, built a new cycle hub at the station [and] introduced cycle priority at junctions, proper cycle lanes and cycle contraflow lanes.”

Those initiatives had led to “an 11 per cent increase in daily cycle journeys from 2009 to 2012, and a reduction in road casualties, with 200 fewer killed and injured in 2013 than in 2011,” the party added.

Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy advisor, said: “The Green Party clearly recognise the many benefits that investing in sustainable transport can bring to communities and it’s commendable to see them committing to giving cycling £30 per head per year from the off – the same funding levels enjoyed by great cycling cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

“If the Green Party do end up with some influence within the next government it would be fantastic to see them put their cycling commitments at the heart of their agenda as a way to transform Britain’s towns and cities, creating more pleasant places to live and work.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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