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Cities Fit for Cycling

Volume 554: debated on Thursday 29 November 2012

The coalition Government is working hard to promote cycling and make it even safer. Yesterday I announced a further £20 million of funding for cycling projects. This is on top of the £30 million of funding announced earlier this year to tackle dangerous junctions. We have also made it simpler for councils to put in place 20 mph zones and limits and install Trixi mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists at junctions, by reducing bureaucracy.

I am grateful to the Minister for that detailed reply. I recently met representatives of the Leicester cycling campaign, who made it clear that they felt that, if I may say so, the Government need to put more emphasis on and more support into cycling. Given that, will the Government commit to implement all the proposals of the Cities Fit for Cycling campaign and invest in dedicated separate cycling infrastructure?

That, if I may say so, is a churlish interpretation of what the Government has done, which is to put enormous effort into improving cycling and progressing all the recommendations of The Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, which I very much welcome. It is perhaps worth noting that there was a huge backlog of important cycling interventions that we inherited when we took office and we are progressing well to deal with those.

The Minister may know of the all-party group that I started in the early 1980s called PACTS—the parliamentary advisory council for transport safety—which organised the seatbelt legislation. We had the annual Westminster lecture, the 23rd, last night at which Jeanne Breen vigorously said that we are not going to get cycling deaths down and there will be a rising level of road accidents because this Government have given up targets.

I do not think that is entirely fair. We have seen great action on road safety from the Secretary of State and from the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond), who has just launched a campaign on cycle safety. Targets are an easy substitute for action. What we saw under the previous Government was legislation which caused delays, and targets which were a substitute for action. We like to get things done, not to set arbitrary targets.