Published on February 13, 2013 | by Siss Anderson and Morgana Edwards

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Cycling inquiry set up to offset road safety cuts

Man cycling in busy traffic

Parliamentary group wants to ‘Get Britain Cycling’ after cuts to road safety budgets. [Alastair Johnstone]

Members of Parliament have launched a campaign to make the Government more aware of the growth of cycling.

The all-party parliamentary Get Britain Cycling group has been prompted into action after swingeing cuts to safety campaigns.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said that road safety budgets have been cut by 80 per cent over the last four years.

Quoting figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Act application, the IAM said Government spending on road safety in the current year is £3.75m, down from £19m in 2008-2009.

The all party group, with members from both Houses of Parliament, has launched a Get Britain Cycling inquiry to collect information about cycling in London which will be presented to the government in March.

Slashed

The Department for Transport is spending just £53,000 on cyclist safety this year.

Speaking to Arts London News (ALN), Adam Coffman, coordinator of the APPCG said: “The fact the government has slashed road safety budgets gives the indication they don’t care about road safety.

“Those cuts will have more of an impact on vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists,” he added.

IAM spokesperson Alice Granville said to ALN: “The institute [IAM] is concerned about how this will affect all cyclists and will be looking closely at the Department for Transports’ funding for next year.

“The fact the government has slashed road safety budgets gives the indication they don’t care about road safety.” Adam Coffman

“We will probably do another Freedom of Information request in a month if they don’t publish the information. If there continues to be cuts, we will be campaigning on the issue,” she said.

IAM director of policy Neil Greig describes the amount to be spent on national cycle safety campaigns as “derisory”.

Uneasy

Greig said: “The successful drink-driving and biker campaigns have raised awareness of these issues and they both appear to be working.

“The government needs to match that kind of expenditure and take the safety of children and cyclists seriously,” he added.

“Unfortunately, despite the huge number of cyclists in the city, it is still not enough of a priority in government.” Rachel Cracknell

The London Assembly Transport Committee is calling on TfL to increase funding for 2013-2014 to £145m in order to stimulate growth of bicycle use in the capital.

Rachel Cracknell, BA Media and Communications student at the London College of Communication, spoke to ALN about the importance and dangers of cycling for students in London.

She said: “As a student I don’t know what I would do without my bike. It’s free, it’s healthy, it’s quick and massively beneficial for the environment. Plus, I love cycling. It’s a great way to see the city.

“Unfortunately, despite the huge number of cyclists in the city, it is still not enough of a priority in government. A lot more needs to be done to protect us [cyclists].

“I have seen so many accidents, some of which have been pretty serious. I have been lucky enough to avoid them, but when you are on a road without proper cycle lanes, you do feel uneasy,” she added.

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