In case it has passed you by, today (Thursday, May 7) is election day in Britain. All across the country, tens if not hundreds of people will be shuffling along to school gyms and village halls to silently stand in a claustrophobic plywood booth and use a tiny pencil on a piece of string to mark a cross next to the name of someone they hope will do a decent job in running the country.
Although the main political parties’ manifestos remain a mystery to many, there’s no doubt that cycling has moved up the political agenda since the last election. The safety of Britain’s cyclists on the nation’s roads has been debated in parliament, and most parties have said they are now firmly behind cyclists and the promotion of cycling. Apart from one or two exceptions.
We recently asked Cycling Weekly readers what cycling-related items they would include in a party manifesto, and here is a selection of the responses. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment box below.
Better cycle lanes. Helmets to be law. Potholes fixed. And for all cyclists to have some kind of course in road laws. There are too many out there giving the rest of us a bad name. Jumping red lights for example. If you’re on the road, follow the rules of the road.
A Garmin, given how easily some parties seem to veer off course from the promises made in their manifesto.
Abolish VAT on all bikes and cycling-related goods. A healthy nation is a happy and productive one, so let’s encourage the good citizens of Britain to get out there and ride rather than taxing them.
Free bike helmets for school-aged children.
Make driving subject to the same laws as with any other object/weapon: murder, manslaughter, GBH, assault and battery. None of this ‘careless’ driving nonsense.
All heavy good vehicles banned from all large town/city centres around peak commute times – particularly London. Also a reinstatement of the cycling proficiency test in schools.
Introduce business incentives to ensure that all companies with a workforce of over 30 people has somewhere for the secure storage of bikes and changing/showering facilities to encourage people to cycle (or run) to work.
A track pump for all those over-inflated egos.
Make the Cycle to Work scheme compulsory for all employers.
Proper cycling infrastructure, like Holland has.
Attitudes towards road racing in Britain need to change. I’d put forward a alteration in the law to make it easier for road races and other cycling events to have closed roads. Britain has produced some of the world’s best cyclists over the past decade, yet the domestic scene is floundering as it’s so hard to put on events safely.
Making a cycling test part of the driving test.
Tougher sentencing for road users who cause death or seriously injure cyclists.
Dedication to cycling paths and routes. Priority for road surfaces. Potholes are the worst! Cyclists can’t ride at the side of the road, so everyone gets there slower.
Public information adverts explaining and illustrating: a) to give sufficient room when overtaking cyclists (Highway Code rule 163); and b) that cyclists ARE allowed to ride two abreast (Highway Code rule 66).
Expanded infrastructure: no new urban or suburban roads without integrated and safe accommodation for bicycles.