The safety of cyclists on Britain’s roads will be debated by MPs in Parliament on Thursday, February 23.

A three-hour slot has been allocated in Westminster to discuss the pressing concern of cycle safety. The debate was put forward by Dr Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG).

Many of the items under discussion arise from the Times newspaper’s Cities Fit for Cycling campaign launched at the beginning of February.

The campaign called for a wide-ranging review of road safety for cyclists, and included better education of road users, lower speed limits in urban areas, improvements to road infrastructure and better long-term investment in cycling.

British Cycling, the national governing body for cycle sport, has also called for mutual respect among road users and has made representations at the APPCG.

According to the Times, 58 MPs across all political parties have already backed the paper’s campaign.

The Times has a facility on its website for people to write to their MP directly expressing their concerns on cycle safety ahead of Thursday’s debate.

A ‘flash ride’ in London has been organised to take place on Wednesday evening so that cyclists can air their public support for the debate. Hundreds, if not thousands, of riders are expected to take part in the ride from the Mall to Westminster. The ride starts at 6.15pm.

Last year 16 cyclists were killed on the streets of London as a result of collisions with other vehicles.

Official statistics from the House of Commons show that 111 cyclists were killed on British roads in 2010, with 2,660 seriously injured. The latter figure is the highest this century whilst the number of deaths is the lowest in 61 years.

On average, 66 miles were travelled using a bike by every male in the UK in 2010, with a much lower figure of just 19 miles for females. A total of three billion vehicle miles were made by bike during 2010, which is one per cent of the total journeys made by all vehicles. In 1950, 12.4 billion vehicle miles were travelled by bike.

The urgency of the debate on mutual respect among road users was highlighted last week when Bristol bus driver Gavin Hill was jailed for 17 months for intentionally running down cyclist Phillip Mead in April 2011. The incident was caught on CCTV (below). Mead suffered a broken leg as a result of the incident.

Related links

London Cycling Campaign says we should be more like Dutch

British Cycling calls for road safety reforms

How Britain has failed cycling