The Government claims ambition for cycling. The forward to the draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy report reads:
“We will double cycling activity by 2025, and reduce each year the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured on English roads. We will reverse the decline in walking that we have seen over the last few years.For that to happen, cycling and walking should become the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey. Cycling and walking should become safer, and, importantly, be perceived to be safe. In short, walking and cycling should be easy, normal and enjoyable.”
Here at Bricycles, we are positive, optimistic and ever-so slightly cynical – particularly as the money made available for this transformation appears woefully inadequate at present.
We took part in the consultation, and copied below is the text of the Bricycles submission (thanks – as ever – to Becky).
Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy – Bricycles Response
On behalf of Bricycles, (Brighton and Hove Cycling Campaign) and as a Cycling UK campaigner for Brighton and Hove, I am responding to the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy consultation. We strongly support the general approach but our main concern is that the proposed investment is completely inadequate to achieve the aims.
Q1. The government would be interested to hear views on the approach and actions set out in section 8 of this strategy
We support the general positive approach outlined in paragraphs 8.10 to 8.42, but there needs to be much, much greater funding and a requirement that local authorities and other national/local bodies take immediate steps to assist cycling and walking at local level with reference to best practice design guidance, and that the progress is monitored centrally against a submitted plan.
It is essential to closely monitor local progress to ensure that there is no foot dragging by pro-roads authorities, that the best value for money is assured, and that excellence in provision (or the opposite) is acknowledged.
The parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report called for investment in cycling of at least £10 per person annually, rising to £20, in order to boost cycle use to 10% of trips by 2025, and to 25% by 2050. By contrast, the Cycling & Walking Investment Strategy provides central overnment funding of just over £300m for period 2015-20, amounting to just £1.38 per person outside London and with the addition of several other major aims about turning the decline in walking into an increase and reducing the rising number of cycling casualties.
We recommend switching some of the £15bn earmarked for the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy to finance improvements for cycling and walking and the aims on casualty reduction.
Q2. The government would be interested to hear views on the potential roles of national government departments, local government, other public bodies, businesses and the voluntary sector in delivering the strategy and what arrangements could best support partnership working between them
Cross departmental collaboration is essential. The costing of health benefits and disbenefits needs to be properly factored in to highways and planning issues so that projects which encourage car use and discourage active travel are adversely weighted and not promoted on the basis of spurious economic benefits by politicians and developers.
Ministers should be positive about the many benefits of active travel. This would assist behaviour change.
We welcome the proposal for Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). Local cycling strategies and plans are in various formats and often out of date. There needs to be an organised approach to provision based on clear national guidelines and standards. This would reduce the construction of inadequate and poor quality infrastructure which frequently failed to deal with the main problems for walking and cycling e.g. hazardous junctions.
We would like to see clearer ring-fencing of money allocated for walking and cycling so that it cannot be used for other purposes.
We do not agree with the stop-start ‘funding lottery’ whereby funds are allocated for essential transport purposes. This encourages erratic and piecemeal planning and wastes officer time filling in lengthy (and often unsuccessful) funding applications.
We would like to see a fully funded national strategy that demands progress on walking and cycling by local authorities. Cycling and walking provision have been devolved to local level for many years e.g. through the underfunded National Cycling Strategy of 1996 which was not implemented at local level and therefore dropped in 2004. Localism has not so far delivered adequate provision and it’s unlikely that it will do so in any coherent way without national funding and oversight and proper guidance. Local Enterprise Partnerships are not democratic bodies and may not be positive about walking and cycling, and may erroneously prefer spending funds on major roads programmes instead.
The Active Travel (Wales) Act is a very useful model. It requires Ministers and Local Authorities to take reasonable steps to enhance the provision for walking and cycling when carrying out highway works etc. Also to map existing provision for active travel (the ‘Existing Routes map’) and proposed future provision (the ‘Integrated map’) and to deliver year-on-year high quality improvements in active travel routes and facilities.
We support knowledge-sharing and the pursuit of best practice in transport. There is a need for clear guidelines for high quality cycling and walking infrastructure and policies that support active travel. Currently there is a mass of guidance of varying status.
An expert committee could be very beneficial depending on its precise remit and membership. We would like to recommend that a representative of Cycling UK such as Roger Geffen is invited to join.
In addition, we recommend a change in the law to stricter liability so that the less vulnerable road user is assumed to be liable in cases of road traffic collisions. We strongly support a Road Justice agenda relevant to the Police and Crime Commissioners and the Department for Justice to reduce bad driving which is both a real and perceived deterrent to active travel. See http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/
Q3. The government would be interested to hear suggestions and evidence of innovative projects and programmes which could be developed to deliver the objectives outlined in section 4
- We recommend switching some of the £15bn earmarked for the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy to finance improvements for cycling and walking such as those below:
- Motor traffic must be restrained so that walking and cycling have a chance to grow.
- Legally backed frequent car free days in cities/towns clogged with traffic causing poor air quality.
- Prioritising walking and cycling improvements in popular areas, like Brighton sea front (Marine Parade)
- where thousands of people are daily exposed to traffic pollution, but motor vehicles are still given
- priority. The Aquarium Roundabout is a major disincentive and barrier for walking and cycling. There are many similar examples on the crowded south coast.
- Permit cycling on Eastbourne promenade and hasten arrangements to enable cycling on other coastal promenades.
- More accessible and public data on air quality (NOX and particulates) showing the benefits of lower emissions.
- Put housing on car parks to assist the homeless and those with housing need.
- Traffic-free safe routes for children to walk and cycle to school.
- Traffic free zones around schools.
- Bikeability training programme in all schools.
- Progress on school travel plans included in Ofsted and other assessments .
- Free public transport for young people subsidised by car parking charges.
- Personalised travel planning.
- Greater insurance reductions for those using in-car monitoring systems to track compliance with lower speeds etc.
- Roll-out of 20 mph speed limits in towns that have so far not introduced them.
- Default position for all one way streets to have two-way cycling in place. Removing car parking is sometimes necessary.
- Early green phase traffic lights are already in use in Brighton and Hove. These could be developed so that
- at the most difficult junctions, there is a longer cycling only phase for all arms of the junction/roundabout.
- “Floating bus stops” – keep the cycle traffic moving and prevent conflict with buses: more of these.
- Stricter liability to shift the balance of power on the streets towards the vulnerable road user.
- Implementation of Cycling UK’s “Road Justice” recommendations so that the police and prosecution services take cycling crashes more seriously, analyse incidents more fully and learn from them.
- There needs to be greater sanction for bad driving. Police need to take cycling incidents and near misses seriously.
- Extension of “Operation Crackdown” to areas that don’t have it, and for data to be retained longer than one year and to be analysed more fully. http://www.operationcrackdown.org/
- Review speed limits on rural roads particularly where “national speed limit applies” because many of these roads are used by walkers and cyclists and there are no pavements or tracks as an alternative. Rural speed limits are unnecessarily high.
- Adopt and implement the law to enable the ticketing of vehicles blocking of cycle lanes, cycle tracks, dropped kerbs, disabled facilities, walking routes, pavements etc.
- Integration of bus, train walking routes etc.
- Extension of walking buses for schoolchildren with fun activities along the way e.g. singing, learning about wildlife, learning a second language.
- Far greater investment in rural bus services.
- Far better accommodation of cycles on ferries to encourage cycle-tourism.
Q4. The government would be interested to hear your views on how to increase cycling and walking in typically under-represented groups (for example women, older people, or those from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds
- Development of walking/ cycling champions from the groups listed, who would be willing to promote andlead activities, being responsive to requests and showing how to participate enjoyably.
- Older people’s “Olympics” like the Paralympics to showcase those older people who are fit and active.
- Publicise the activity of many older people who do take part in walking and cycling, particularly cycle touring e.g. days out in the countryside, holidays by bike
- Recumbent and hand cycling is done by disabled people following stroke etc. People with visual impairment often ride as “stoker” on tandems: publicise and facilitate this lesser known side of cycling by those with disabilities.
- Offer easily accessible physical activity to those in traditional non-active roles e.g. “Health walks” as run by Brighton and Hove City Council: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/sports-and-activity/healthwalks
Q5. The government would be interested to hear views on what type of assistance Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships would find beneficial to support development of ambitious and high standard Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans
We recommend switching some of the £15bn earmarked for the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy to finance improvements for cycling and walking.
- There needs to be easily available clear national guidance on best practice in cycling and walking infrastructure and policy.
- There needs to be a continuing channel of communication between the planners and the citizens.
- Walking and cycling representatives and individuals need to be able to put views forward and to assist local authorities and LEPs with their plans. This is particularly important for LEPs because many people are unaware of their existence, their remit or how to influence them.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to put our views.