Cycling experts present evidence to Parliament

A group of expert witnesses told parliament today that funding and political leadership are key if more people are to cycle on Britain's roads, during an inquiry titled ‘Get Britain Cycling'.

In the first of six two-hour evidence sessions, the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), heard evidence from a panel of expert witnesses on how to increase cycling numbers in the UK.

Today's witnesses included representatives from British Cycling, CTC, Cyclenation and Sustrans.

From the media the Guardian's Peter Walker, The Times' Journalists Kaya Burgess and Phillip Pank and Carlton Reid of Bike Biz gave evidence.

They were followed by experts Rachel Aldred (senior lecturer at Westminster University), Lynn Sloman (independent consultant on sustainable transport) and Phillip Darnton (executive director of the Bicycle Association).

The focus of today's evidence was on strategy, with segregated cycle lanes, political leadership and funding featuring heavily.

Roger Geffen, campaigns director of charity CTC, said: "There is no controversy about whether cycling should be a major priority of transport planning and thinking."

He added year-on-year funding for cycle infrastructure is essential to enable better planning. Segregated lanes on wider roads, signage and continuous safe routes were key, he said.

Martin Gibbs, British Cycling's policy and legal affairs director, said the three main areas of action should be improving junctions, installing segregated cycle lanes and reducing traffic speeds. He added: "Whenever we build something on the roads we need to consider how that will affect cycling."

Jason Torrance, Sustrans' policy director noted we need to encourage more women cyclists, who currently make up only one third of cycle journeys, adding that fear of danger was a major reason more women don't cycle.

Rachel Aldred said: "We need to show that cycling is attractive, safe, accessible and comfortable. I don't think many places in the UK are like that [at present]."

APPCG co-chair Julian Huppert MP, said: "We need better cycling infrastructure, improved safety on our roads for cyclists, measures to make drivers more aware and a change in the law to offer greater protection.

"Our government has shown some commitment to cycling with recent investment but it can do so much more year-on-year.

"It's time for real change."

What is 'Get Britain Cycling'?