Saturday, 31 August 2013

Cycling debate is on Monday in House of Commons

How would you improve cycling in Northumberland?
The evidence for promoting cycling is overwhelming, but we will need effort to be made to redesign our streets, and communities, with greater emphasis on cycling being part of the community transport plan. We need to be 'Cycle-proofing' our roads, streets and communities, focusing on safety for cycling with huge benefits from improving public healthreducing congestion and curbing emissions to be gained from reaching the goals of the Get Britain Cycling report ( the target is 10% of trips by 2025).
The Government has responded positively to many of the Get Britain Cycling inquiry’s recommendations, but whilst funding is required we need to ensure that local authorities follow suit. They also need guidance, professional training and regulatory freedom to allow the introduction of high-qualitycontinental-style cycle facilities. Low speed limits like the one I have campaigned for in Wylam will be key. Some Government departments are not contributing to the improvement in conditions for cyclists.
Cycling is an issue that crosses departments in central and local government. It starts with the transport budget but it also affects education, local government, housing and regeneration, tourism, sport, and most importantly health. It is also far cheaper than driving in these difficult economic times.
On Monday and beyond I shall be making the case locally and nationally that this is a long term investment that is win win on so many levels. But we will need local leadership and councillors willing to embrace the idea.
I would welcome all thoughts for how we can improve Northumberland's cycling in whatever way - simply email me and/ or contact your local parish or county councillor. There are really simple things we can do from more bike racks, to designated trails, school safety lessons, and health awareness, with wider issues like the design of housing estates and new roads / improvements needed to address this in a bigger way.
Countries like the Netherlands and Denmark lead the way and there is no reason we cannot follow. But locally we are starting from a very low base.