This article was published in 1996, in Newsletter 7.
The National Cycling Strategy was published this month by the Government.
It contains the conclusions and findings of a Steering Group chaired by Steven Norris, Minister for Local Transport and Road Safety. Its task was to establish a culture which favours the increased use of bicycles for all age groups; develops sound policies and good practice; and seeks out innovative, practical and effective means of fostering accessibility by cycle.
Membership of the Steering Group was drawn from voluntary organisations, commercial interests, local authorities and Government Departments.
Issued by the Department of Transport on the 10th July, 1996
Sir George Young gives pedal power policy a push
Transport Secretary Sir George Young today announced that the Government aims to double the number of cycle trips in Britain by 2002, and to double them again by 2012.
This target is the keystone of the UK’s first ever National Cycling Strategy, a cycling policy agreed between representatives from voluntary organisations, commercial interests, local authorities and Government Departments.
Launching the strategy at a National Conference in London, Sir George said:
Cycling has great potential as a means of transport, both on its own and in direct combination with public transport journeys. It offers an economic, environmentally friendly, healthy and direct means of travel. With imagination and co-operation, it can form an integral part in shaping patterns of transport for the future.
My Department intends to work through the National Cycling Strategy with local authorities, private companies and the voluntary sector to bring about changes in attitudes, priorities, infrastructure provision and working practices and so make cycling a real transport option for a much wider proportion of our population.
The National Strategy demonstrates the clear role which cycling has to play within future transport planning. The focus for action is to restore cycling as a convenient and appropriate transport choice. I am confident that the central targets identified in the Strategy can be met through the combined efforts of all those who can influence local transport choice.
The Strategy sets out national targets to increase the amount of cycling. It highlights a range of actions which can help meet those targets, demonstrating how cycling can be given a higher profile on roads, at public transport interchanges, in town centres, at the workplace and in new developments.
This is now Government policy. What a turn around!
The Current Picture
Cycling has been declining in recent years in the UK and now accounts for less than 2% of all trips (this comprises 10% in Sweden, 11% in Germany, 15% in Switzerland and 18% in Denmark). There are however increasing numbers of bicycles being bought in the UK.
Double the number of cycle trips (on 1996 figures) by the end of 2002 and double them again by the end of 2012.
Develop convenient cycle access to key destinations
Central and Local Government to develop advice and best practice on location of developments and cycling provision.
Public Transport operators and local authorities to provide secure parking and carriage of cycles.
Improve Cycle Safety
Identify targets for cycling safety improvements to stimulate progress.
Allocate priority in road space to cycling
Local Authorities to initiate a “cycle audit” by end 1997.
All [Department of Transport] design guidance to be reviewed.
All local authorities to conduct strategic cycle reviews and produce “local strategies for cycling” by end 1999.
Provide cycle parking at all major destinations
Local Authorities to complete cycle parking provision programme by 2002 and private sector establishments to review their cycle parking arrangements.
Local planning authorities to establish cycle parking standards by end 1998.
Reduce cycle theft
Agree a set of graded standards for cycle security devices by end 1996.
Establish a working group on cycle registration in 1996 to report to the National Cycling Forum by end 1997.
Raise awareness of the advantages of cycling
All relevant professional organisations to review training courses and ensure that entry requirements and Continuing Professional development include an understanding of cycling issues.
Establish the collection and dissemination of good practice in cycling provision.
Extend cycling promotions such as National Bike Week, Green Commuter plans etc.
Improve traffic management and safety measures on school routes, supporting cycling training programmes.
Issue new guidelines for employers for an agreed cycle allowance rate.
Unlock resources to meet the objectives of the strategy
Monitor, maintain and develop cycling “rewards” in transport and other funding mechanisms.
Every local authority to consider responsibilities and staff time for cycling policy.
Department of Transport to consider the staff resources required to meet the new policy objectives.
Central and local government, transport providers and other large organisations to consider the impact of their activities and expenditure decisions on travel choice.
The Way Ahead
Set up a National Cycling Forum, chaired by the Minister for Local Transport, producing an annual progress report.
Local Authorities to liaise with local cycling groups and regularly assess progress towards local cycling targets.
David has ordered some copies of the strategy documents for the Campaign