Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Response to "Cities fit for cycling" from Barry Gardiner MP

Our household has received a reply from Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North (Labour), to our letters on The Times's Cities fit for cycling campaign. This is not actually a reply to my letter, but to one from my partner, which she sent after mine, but seems to have got a reply first.

It says:

Thank you for your letter regarding cycling safety in London.
I agree that much needs to be done to make the UK's roads safer for cyclists. With public transport charges increasing and London's pollution problems continuing, cycling is both responsible and economical. The Government should look to support those who wish to cycle at every available opportunity, whether it be improving road layout and signage or educating drivers and cyclists themselves.
It is a real concern to me that the numbers of cyclists being killed or seriously injured is going up. It is not good enough for the Road Safety Minister to dismiss as 'rubbish' the concerns that his government's decisions have made our roads less safe for cyclists. It was reckless of the government to cut road safety budgets and funding for speed cameras while abolishing  Cycling England, allowing longer HGVs on our roads and ending national targets to cut deaths and serious injuries on our roads.
I have recently written to the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, about the issue of cyclist safety and the Times' cycle safer campaign in particular. I will, of course, forward any response as soon as I receive it.
In the meantime, if there are any other matters you wish to bring to my attention, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely,
Barry Gardiner
Member of Parliament for Brent North

I would say this is a good and substantial reply, though one senses that our Barry perceives an opportunity to make political capital from attacking the current government on this, when the situation we are now in is the result of a long-term historic failure by governments of all parties to treat cycling properly. He does seem to have a grasp of the issues, stating things in the correct order, giving "improving the road layout" as the first priority for supporting "those who wish to cycle" (who are not necessarily "cyclists"), before "signage or educating drivers and cyclists themselves" (though I am not sure what signage is supposed to have to do with it). But I note no commitment to signing EDM 2689, which he has still not done (67 MPs have, as of today), and no commitment to attend tomorrow's debate.

If you are in London, don't forget to come to the flashride outside Parliament today: 6:15 Duke of York Steps. A big turnout in the rain will be even more convincing.

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