It is fitting that PTRC News should be highlighting cycling, just nine days after the historic House of Commons debate on 2nd September 2013. It was a remarkable sight: an estimated 100 MPs, 30 of whom spoke, giving wholehearted cross-party backing to Get Britain Cycling - the published findings of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's recent Inquiry. Admittedly, at times, the debate was stodgy. But anyone watching the 4-hour epic on Hansard TV definitely got their money's worth.
The report recommended a Government target to boost cycle use from 2% of trips at present to 10% (roughly German levels) by 2025 and 25% (near Dutch levels) by 2050. It also called for sustained funding for cycling of at least £10 per person annually, rising to £20 as cycle use increases.
Stepping aside from this for a moment, let's note the role taken by transport professionals in the development of this excellent report. Many transport professionals provided written evidence to the APPCG's Inquiry, which was run on Select Committee lines and all the more authoritative for it. Contributors included the CILT UK Cycling Forum, whose succinct six-page submission is an excellent Plain English guide for anyone wanting an instant policy to get the nation cycling. It is available online at The Hub, together with a wealth of other material produced by transport professionals, including the treasure trove we inherited from the Cycling England website.
A few transport professionals provided verbal evidence to the Inquiry, including four CILT UK Cycling Forum members.
A transport professional, Prof. Phil Goodwin, pulled the written and verbal responses together and produced the report.
Now, some elements of the debate demonstrated - here and there - the lack of understanding or knowledge amongst decision-makers about what it will take to get Britain cycling. Just because you can ride a bike does not make you a transport professional. You can certainly tell transport professionals about your experience out there on the roads, but that does not equip you to make the changes required to attract the many people who would like to get back on their bikes but find the current offering so off-putting.
So, the time has come for transport professionals to make sure they are up to speed and fully prepared to implement the new investment coming in to cycling. This requires traffic engineers, highways engineers, transport and urban planners, sustainable transport specialists, public transport operators, developers, development control managers, public health directors and site-based facilities and estates managers to invest some time and money in training and CPD.
Richard Armitage CMILT
Get Britain Cycling
The Hub; the home for online cycling resources