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Press Release – Minister for Cycling Agrees to Consider Call for National Cycling & Highways Agency

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Minister for Cycling Agrees to Consider Call for ‘National Cycling & Highways Agency’

Ahead of today’s (June 11th) All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) bike ride, the co-founders of Stop Killing Cyclists Steven Routley and Donnachadh McCarthy, met with the Minister for Cycling Robert Goodwill MP on Monday.

He agreed to consider amendments to the new Infrastructure Bill that would ensure cycling was included in the remit of the proposed re-structured Highways Agency.

Donnachadh McCarthy said,

“We welcome the Minister’s commitment to considering such an amendment from MPs. It is crucial that a National Cycling & Highways Agency takes the lead for funding and overseeing the creation of a National Cycling Infrastructure.”

Steven Routley said,

“Cycling must be included in the title and remit of the reformed Highway’s Agency.

For too long cycling provision has been the invisible Cinderella of Britain’s transport investments despite its enormous potential to reduce epidemic levels of diabetes, lung and heart diseases from traffic pollution and obesity, improve economic competitiveness through congestion reduction, making our roads safer for pedestrians and other road users and reducing carbon emissions.”

Other items discussed during the Stop Killing Cyclists meeting with the Minister for Cycling were:

1. The creation of a national version of TfL’s Mini-Holland cycle funding scheme for councils across the country.

2. The introduction of improved national standards for truck safety equipment on existing trucks.

3. Raising the penalties for texting and speaking on a mobile phone whilst driving, to the same severity as drink driving.

4. Increasing UK cycling funding levels to modern Dutch levels.


Date: Wednesday June 11th 2014
Stop Killing Cyclists - logo with website in red
Press Contact: Donnachadh McCarthy
Telephone: 07947 8842 99

Note to editors:

1. Stop Killing Cyclists is the direct action protest group set up after the recent spate of cyclist killings in London. They arranged the mass Die-In at TfL HQ where 1,500 cyclists laid down in the road in protest at lack of safety investment in London.

2. The new Infrastructure Bill proposes to turn the Highways Agency into an arms-length government-owned company.
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/infrastructure-bill

3. A study by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) found that a driver’s reaction times slowed by 46% when he or she was making a call on a hand-held mobile, by 37% when texting while driving and by 27% during hands-free calls. For those on the drink-drive limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, reaction times were reduced by 13%. For those who had used cannabis it was 21%.
http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/Politics/article1420279.ece

4. Britain currently spends a tiny £2.20 per person on cycling infrastructure annually compared to the Dutch £24. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3789794.ece

5. Link to pictures and press coverage of Stop Killing Cyclists Direct-Actions: http://stopkillingcyclists.org/

Children and families ‘Pedal on Parliament’ in their thousands

Thousands protest at Pedal on Parliament (photo by Chris Hill).
Thousands protest at Pedal on Parliament (photo by Chris Hill).

On Saturday, people by their thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh to protest road danger and demand that their elected representatives make substantial changes to the transport infrastructure and laws.

This year’s event came just weeks after the driver of a 55 foot articulated lorry was acquitted of causing the death of Andrew McNicoll as he cycled to work along Lanark Road in January 2012.

This is the third year for the Pedal on Parliament protest – each attracting more people than the previous one. Estimates are that about 4500 people protested this year – many of whom were families: FAMILIES TO THE FORE FOR THE THIRD PEDAL ON PARLIAMENT.

CHILDREN TELL POLITICIANS WHAT THEY WANT

Children address the protesters and politicians at PoP 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).
Children address the protesters and politicians at PoP 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).

One speaker at the protest in front of Holyrood was 8 year old Daniel Brennan who told the crowd:

“I’d love to be able to go for a bike ride without going in the car to cycle with my family. It would be great if Scotland was like Amsterdam where everyone can cycle with their friends.”

7 year old Katharine Dorman demanded:

“Let’s make Scotland a cycle friendly country!”

And 11 year old Kyle Thomas said:

“I believe cycling is the future for Scotland… Cycling down the high street I thought to myself that this is how cycling should be, there wasn’t a single car on the road but lots of cyclists as it should be.”

NO LONGER ABLE TO BE IGNORED

Transport Minister Keith Brown at Pop 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).
Transport Minister Keith Brown at Pop 2014 (photo by Chris Hill).

The growing visibility meant that government could no longer ignore the voices being raised: Transport Minister Keith Brown attended the protest to defend his government’s policies.

He announced £4.5 million over 2 years for promoting cycling training.

Not surprisingly, the organisers were quick to point out that:

…educating children to cycle on the road is not the best use of money, compared with starting to invest in a cycling network where they can actually be safe, and more importantly feel safe, as they get around on two wheels.

There’s no training in the world that will guarantee a child’s safety around HGVs and fast-moving cars – and as long as children need to mix in traffic to ride their bikes, then parents will be reluctant to give them the freedom to ride.

Thankfully, that message is being heard and taken on board by a growing number of politicians – the organisers are continuously updating their list of supportive MSPs and quotes: POLITICAL RESPONSES.

Keith Brown, the Transport Minister, addressed the crowd at PoP and said in part:

“We are making progress on infrastructure with more than £32 million spent on infrastructure… It will take time for Scotland to become as safe as Amsterdam. We have to change driver behaviour as well… we need to have the same attitudes as Scandinavian countries aiming towards zero deaths.”

MEDIA COVERAGE

The protest was front page news and received wide coverage in the media – a full list is being updated by the PoP organisers: MEDIA COVERAGE.

The BBC gave it headline coverage on their TV broadcast and news website: Thousands take part in Pedal on Parliament event in Edinburgh.

The organisers continue to post updates using their Twitter account: @PoPScotland. Their website is at PEDALONPARLIAMENT.ORG

WRITE TO YOUR POLITICIANS

Lynne marches in Pedal on Parliament 2014.
Lynne marches with councillors and MSPs in Pedal on Parliament 2014.

A leading campaigner for reducing road danger is the step-mum, Lynne, and father, Ian, of Andrew McNicoll – who was killed in a collision with a 55ft long articulated lorry in Edinburgh as he commuted to work on his bicycle.

The driver of the lorry was recently acquitted of causing his death: Man cleared over death of cyclist Andrew McNicoll.

Lynne wrote on her blog (HERE) following the PoP 2014 protest:

“it was so good to see politicians in some numbers with us: MSP Alison Johnstone, Cllr Cameron Rose, Transport Minister Keith Brown, Cllr Andrew Burns.

I asked the crowd and I ask you too now – if your politician was there, thank them and if they weren’t there please do write to them and tell them what we want:

No more cyclist deaths;

Better infrastructure;

Presumed liability;

for anyone of any age to cycle safely.

A time-lapse photo of people cycling to the protest is HERE.

Report Back from meeting with Minister of State for Transport

Donnachadh McCarthy writes…

Susan Kramer, The Baroness Kramer 2
Baroness Kramer

Thanks to everybody who helped brief me so quickly and effectively – we are an awesome force already !

Baroness Susan Kramer (Liberal Democrats, House of Lords) is very pro-cycling and says the Department for Transport (DfT) is really searching about to find what will actually deliver real positive change on the ground. However, ministerial responsibility lies with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary Robert Goodwill.

Ten minutes into the meeting, she interrupted me to ask Robert to join us but his meeting overran and this did not happen. My deduction from this is that she felt I was talking with a depth of experience on the ground.

The issues I raised were (apologies to those whose detailed suggestions I did not raise but we had only 1 hour including personal catch up):
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