Friday, 13 January 2012

Cambridge MP Quizzes Government On Lack Of Safeguards For Cyclists


The lack of cycling infrastructure across the country and its safety implications have been raised with the government by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert.

He questioned Transport Minister, Mike Penning on the steps being taken to improve the quality and amount of cycle infrastructure on the country’s roads

Julian told the Minister in the House of Commons yesterday (Thursday, January 12): “Cycle infrastructure is sadly lacking across the country and that causes a number of safety problems such as a recent tragedy at King’s Cross and many others around the country. What steps is the Minister taking to improve the quality and amount of cycle infrastructure on our roads?”

Mr Penning acknowledged the importance of cycling, saying: “Cycling is vital not only to community and enjoyment but to the health of the nation.”

And he assured Julian that his concerns had been heard in the chamber by Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Norman Baker who is responsible for cycling.

Julian said later: “If we want people to see cycling as a safe alternative to other forms of transport we have to do everything we can to improve the safety of cyclists on our roads.

“In Cambridge we have invested a great deal of money on cycle lanes and improvements to junctions and signage and the result has been that we have the largest number of cyclists commuting to and from work and school and riding for pleasure than anywhere else in the UK.

“Sadly, this is not replicated across the country as a whole and as a result, particularly in London, cyclists do not enjoy the same level of safeguards. This leads to accidents involving cyclists and recently an accident between a lorry and a cyclist claimed the life of a young fashion student.

“We have to make cycling infrastructure a priority across the country; only then can our government expect people to really take it seriously on this issue.”

The full wording of Julian’s question and response are as follows:

Dr Julian Huppert (Cambridge) (LD): Cycle infrastructure is sadly lacking across the country and that causes a number of safety problems, such as a recent tragedy at King’s Cross and many others around the country. What steps is the Minister taking to improve the quality and amount of cycle infrastructure on our roads?

Mike Penning: Most of the roads I am responsible for are part of the national road infrastructure, and I hope there are no cyclists on that part of the infrastructure. However, the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: cycling is vital not only to local commuting and enjoyment but to the health of the nation. I am sure that the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) was listening closely to what the hon. Gentleman said.