“Politicians will need to grow balls”

The London Assembly Transport Committee has released it’s investigation into safer cycling in London. Bike Biz comments that the message in the report is clear: “politicians will need to grow balls”.

Bike Biz continues “Political will is needed to make cycling a mainstream form of transport that is supported by high quality, safe cycling routes. There could, and should, be more segregated cycle space in London. Currently, decisions to give cyclists protected space are often turned down because there is a lack of political will to take space from motorised traffic.”

Suggestions in the report include

–          the introduction of the Dutch style concept of “strict liability”, where the larger, heavier vehicle is deemed to be at fault, for insurance purposes, in any collision

–          2% of the transport budget to go towards increasing cycling. Currently this is less than one percent, with over half being used to prop up the “Boris Bicycle Scheme”. The Transport Committee regards the current spend of about $15 per capita as insufficient.

–          Increase cycling participation from 2% to 5% by 2020, and 10% by 2026

–          Provide more segregated cycle space

–          Introduce 20mph limits were appropriate

 

It is encouraging that Mayor Bloomberg from New York City has said:  “The streets were there to transport people. They are not for cars…Cyclists and pedestrians and bus riders are as important, if not, I would argue more important, than automobile riders.” Other large cities should take note immediately, and smaller cities (like Perth) would do well to examine why these larger cities promote cycling as a cost effective and economically interesting mode of transport. Consider this stucy from Portland that shows that  people getting about a city on bicycles spend more in cafes and shops, over any month, than motorists. People who drive to these establishments spend more per visit; but those on bikes visit more often and therefore spend more overall.

As we are moving towards the 2013 elections we should critically examine how the parties relate to cycling, and what firm projects and plans they have in place to increase cycling participation and how to make it safe to cycle to schools, shops, train stations or work. For instance the concept of “livable streets” that is promoted by legislators in America, for instance by Congressman Joseph Crowley  (quoted in Transportation Alternatives): “Livable streets is not just a fad, it’s an investment in public health, the environment, building stronger communities and creating a sustainable economy.”

 

About Heinrich

Promoting everyday cycling