By Nigel Wynn
British Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the UK, is calling for greater mutual respect between cyclists and other road users in a bid to increase road safety. Rather than take a devisive 'them and us' approach, BC want to see all road users acknowledging the risks they pose to each other and have taken steps to influence key policy makers to take action.
The organisation's campaign comes after BC published a road safety report based on member feedback. BC members want to see cycle awareness included as part of the basic driving test, increase the enforcement of law relating to mobile phone use by drivers; and improving roads and junctions that pose danger to cyclists.
"As more people take to their bikes, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure they are able to do so in a safe environment," said British Cycling chief executive Ian Drake.
"The reality is that the number of cycling deaths and injuries on the roads is decreasing and evidence suggests that the more people who cycle, the safer it becomes.
"However, for us, even one death is one too many and by listening to our members we can better understand what needs to be done to help create the necessary mutual respect required between motorists and cyclists to ensure both can use the roads in a safe manner.
"It's essential that we get away from this sense of ‘them and us' between motorists and cyclists. Most people who ride a bike also drive a car which suggests there should already be some mutual understanding.
"Now more needs to be done to build on this and create culture in which all road users can better respect each other. And it's important to stress that cyclists have as much of a role to play in this as motorists, by ensuring they adhere to the rules of the road with regards to things like stopping at red traffic lights and signalling correctly."
BC has already been represented at the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, whose purpose is to 'promote the use of bicycles as a mode of transport and to raise both inside and outside the House the practice and status of cycling'. It's an important forum to have cycling's concerns heard in Parliament.
Ian Austin MP, British Cycling member and Co-Chair of the APPCG said "I'm very pleased to see British Cycling, of which I have been a member for many years, making its voice heard in this sphere and I look forward to playing my part in Westminster to get the changes needed."
In addition, BC has directly contacted the Transport Minister and all of the London mayoral candidates to request that cycle safety and cycling concerns be given higher political priority.
Times launches 'Cities fit for cycling' campaign
Coinciding with British Cycling's call for mutual respect on Britain's roads, newspaper the Times has started its campaign to improve road safety for cyclists.
In a major article published on Thursday, the Times outlined that 27,000 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on British roads in the past 10 years. One of that number is the Times journalist Mary Bowers, who was hit by a lorry on her way to work and is currently seriously ill in hospital.
The Times has published an eight-point manifesto "calling for cities to be made fit for cycling", which includes items on improving road infrastructure, lowering the speed limit in urban areas with no cycle paths, getting local businesses involved in sponsoring cycling projects and more. The full manifesto is outlined on the Times' website.
As part of the campaign, the Times are asking people to pledge their support and contact their local MP to put pressure on creating reforms to benefit road safety.
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