We are delighted that the motion supporting the Get Britain Cycling report was passed on Monday after an encouraging debate by more than 100 MPs – while thousands of cyclists massed outside in support of the LCC’s Space For Cycling campaign. While the vote won’t actually achieve anything concrete, it does show that there is mainstream political support not just for cycling but for the sort of measures that we’ve been calling for in our manifesto: proper and sustained spending on cycling and well-designed cycling infrastructure. The report also called for a binding target (not a ‘shared vision’, Scottish Government take note) for 10% of journeys by bike.
We were particularly pleased to get a name check along with Spokes by some of the Scottish MPs present at the debate – Ian Murray, Sheila Gilmore and Mark Lazarowicz, who all attended the last POP (Ian Murray on a tandem) mentioned both campaigns and the political pressure such grass roots lobbying can bring.
Unfortunately, the Department for Transport’s response to the Get Britain Cycling report bore a certain resemblance to the Scottish Government’s response to our manifesto – blandly reiterating existing spending commitments while dismissing most of the concrete measures that could make a real difference to cycling. However, given the support in the chamber last night, and the massing of cyclists outside, this refusal by the UK government to take cycling seriously is beginning to look a little out of step especially as their coalition partners the Liberal Democrats have promised to adopt the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report as part of their election manifesto. Labour has gone a step further, announcing an eight point manifesto which would, among other measures, oblige councils to build safe cycling routes, in line with the Welsh Active Travel Bill. With the Conservative Mayor of London also announcing significant spending commitments for cycling and ambitious plans for safe cycling infrastructure, a cross-party consensus does seem to be emerging south of the border.
POP is a resolutely non-party political campaign. We believe that cycling is more important than party politics – without an across-the-board consensus, we won’t see lasting change. So we hope that the winds of change that seem to blowing through Westminster will start to make their presence felt up here in Holyrood too. We urge ALL Scottish parties to consider adopting our own eight-point manifesto to make Scotland safer for everyone to cycle.
Together we can make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation