Monday, 19 March 2012

Response just in from Andrew Lansley MP re CycleSafe

On the 10th Feb I wrote to my MP, Andrew Lansley asking him to attend the Cycle Safe debate arranged by Julian Huppert.  I had given up all hope of a response given his role as Secretary of State for Health and the trouble with the Health Reform Bill, but no, I got a response, a cookie cutter response but at the very least I hope he read my letter and it may in a small way help him to represent my views.

I wrote (in a hurry) on 10th Feb 2012:

Please attend the Cycling Safety debate on the 23rd February.

I have been cycling to work 3 days a week for the last 6 years. It is has been a life changer for me, turning me from an inactive health timebomb to a healthy middle aged man who won't drain NHS resources.

I meet so many people who would like to cycle to work but do not think it is safe enough. The feeling of danger which most normal people feel when cycling in traffic is such a barrier, people do not have a choice but to take to their cars.

Safe routes such as the Cambridgeshire Guided Bus cycleway have proved that if you build good safe facilities, people will cycle.  But it needs more money. Cheap paint-only cycling facilities create danger for cyclists and push them to drive everywhere.

I also support 20mph as the default for residential areas.  My village, Cottenham, has a high proportion of children and the car is the default way for them to get around the village. This behaviour will lead many of them to obesity. Making it safer for them to walk, scoot or cycle will help reverse the obesity trend.

Obesity; air pollution; traffic queues; Health. Cycling solves so many of societies problems. Britain needs more people to cycle, but safety must come first.

Yours sincerely,

Response: 19th March 2012  (five weeks later)

[you may recognise this]

Thank you for contacting me about The Times campaign on safer cycling in cities.
Firstly, I commend The Times for highlighting this important issue and I know Ministers will consider the points raised as part of their ongoing work to improve safety for cyclists.

The Coalition Agreement contained a key commitment on cycling, stating that the Government will support sustainable travel initiatives, including the promotion of cycling and walking. As part of this, the Department for Transport announced funding of £560 million for the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to finance a range of travel measures which could include cycling infrastructure projects. Ministers announced the first tranche of funding in July last year and 38 of the successful 39 projects in the first wave included a cycling element.

The Government takes the safety of cyclists extremely seriously and I understand that Ministers are taking a number of steps to ensure that Britain remains a world leader in road safety. Ministers have committed to continuing to improve the driving test and driver training and have pledged £11 million for Bikeability training to help a new generation of cyclists gain the skills and knowledge they need to cycle safely.

In addition, the Government is leading discussions at European level on further improving standards for heavy goods vehicles to help reduce accidents caused by poor visibility. Ministers also want to see more innovative measures being put in place to improve cycle safety and, after a successful trial in London, councils across the country can now apply to use Trixi mirrors to make cyclists more visible to drivers at traffic lights. Ministers are providing local councils with the tools they need to improve safety on their roads, for instance cycle lanes and 20 mph zones. The implementation of these will, however, depend on local decisions and need to reflect local priorities.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.

Yours sincerely,
Andrew Lansley

Identical except for two words to:
I had to format the paragraphs for you.  You just can't get the staff these days, well not those who can copy/paste correctly.

I cannot believe he didn't address my concerns re safe scooting to school!  ;-)

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