Parliament started up again after the summer recess with a debate on how to support cycling.
During the debate, the Government confirmed it wants more people cycling more often, more safely. It is good for the environment, health, and the economy. A 20% increase in cycling levels by 2015 could save the economy £207m. in reduced traffic congestion and £71m. in reduced pollution levels.
Cycling has had a major boost recently from sporting success at the Olympics from the likes of Colne’s Steven Burke and at the Tour de France, which is due to visit Britain for the beginning of next year’s event. It is also very important to the local economy, with companies like Hope Technology in Barnoldswick creating well-paid jobs and events like the recent “Ride with Brad” or “Colne Grand Prix” which attracted thousands of participants and spectators.
The current Government is backing cycling strongly, but as many MPs pointed out in the debate, more needs to be done.
To help rural areas, £600m. has been given to the local sustainable transport fund and £44m. is going to support cycle training for schoolchildren. £15m. is being spent to enable cycle parking at rail stations, among other projects.
We are also going to see more “cycle proofing” of our roads. New road improvements will be designed with both cyclists and motorists in mind.
As for safety, any death on the roads involving a cyclist is one too many. Local authorities can now install Trixi mirrors without having to apply for permission and it is now easier to introduce 20mph limits, something which has been pioneered in Lancashire.
Although I was not personally able to contribute to the debate, I often remind Government Ministers how much support there is for cycling in Pendle.