Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Times: "The bike is the future and the task for British cities now be must be to adapt to the bike." Please fill in the survey at the bottom of this post and add your voice to the all-party parliamentary cycling review.

Brand new bike lane at Blackfriars Bridge puts cyclists right in front of and squashed up next to lorries.
In the Netherlands lorries and cyclists would flow separately through these junctions. 
I'm stunned by tomorrow's (Monday) edition of The Times. Stunned in a good way. The newspaper has got behind cycling in a way I've never seen before, a way that goes way beyond its first #cyclesafe news coverage earlier this year.

Kicking off with a very punchy editorial, the newspaper explains why it's supporting cycling: "This is not merely the result of rising fuel costs. Other studies have shown marked declines in car use among city dwellers, with British people now using their cars less than they did a decade ago, and only slightly more than they did in the 1970s. The bike is the future and the task for British cities now be must be to adapt to the bike.

(note that the editorial is still behind The Times's paywall but all other sections are available free via The Times's cyclesafe page)

Blimey.

And there's more. The Times makes clear in its editorial than this issue isn't going to go away:

"This newspaper will be investigating how Britons travel, whether by public transport, private transport or pedal power. We aim to recommend how more people can be encouraged to get on their bikes. We will speak to designers who can make cities that work as they should, and the Government and local officials with the power to turn their ideas into reality. This has never been a modest campaign. It is about nothing less than building a different kind of urban realm. And it has only just begun."

The Times's coverage is well-balanced, well-researched and well worth reading in detail. There's a good review of cycling in Copenhagen that explains how the Danes have reduced car use and created space for cycling, despite having higher population density in their cities than we do. It's well worth having a look at the range of articles about cycling published over the weekend on The Times's website.

In its editorial, The Times points out that 21 of the cyclists killed on UK roads so far this year have been children or teenagers. The paper is crystal clear that these sorts of statistics are not good enough. And The Times has made very clear that it believes it is time for the UK to implemented 'separated cycle lanes' in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. Amen to that.

But most importantly, there's also news of a new cross-party inquiry into cycling. The Get Britain Cycling inquiry will produce a report in April setting out a plan for safer streets. The aim is to turn words of support from the Prime Minister and transport ministers into action to promote safe cycling.

And this is where you come in. The Times has a survey on its website which I've pasted below. Please take a couple of minutes to fill out the survey and add your voice.

If you're interested in more details about the parliamentary inquiry, you can see all the details on the new website of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and send your own more detailed written submission direct to the APPCG for review.

The Times cycling survey:

(alternatively, you can complete the cycling survey on The Times website)