Westminster 'Get Britain Cycling' inquiry starts

By Richard Peace | Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10.20am

The first session of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's inquiry into 'Get Britain Cycling' starts today at Westminster, and will continue over the next seven weeks. If follows on from the same group’s inquiry into cycling safety, which took place in November 2012.

Today’s theme is the need for leadership and cycling, examining the UK in comparison with other European countries.

Future sessions

  • Safety – 30 January 2013
  • Planning and design – 6 February
  • Active lifestyles – 13 February
  • The local perspective – 27 February
  • Government – 6 March

Witnesses

The UK’s main cycling organisations – the Cyclists' Touring ClubBritish Cycling, Sustrans and Cyclenation – will be sending witnesses before the inquiry, including:

  • Roger Geffen: CTC's campaigns director will be giving CTC's evidence, with specific suggestions aimed at producing a coherent government policy. He’s expected to stress how various elements of cycle provision, as exemplified by the Cycletopia graphics, could lead to a cycling revolution if applied across the UK.
  • Rachel Aldred: The senior lecturer in transport at Westminster University will look at local factors that enable or hinder the growth of cycling.
  • Lynn Sloman: An independent consultant and specialist in promoting travel to schools and workplaces.
  • Phillip Darnton: Former CEO of Raleigh with a marketing background, he chaired the National Cycling Strategy Board. Now executive director of the Bicycle Association (representing UK cycle manufacturers), he also chairs the Department for Transport-backed Cycle-Rail Task Force.
  • The Times journalists Kaya Burgess and Philip Pank, the driving forces behind the newspaper's Cities Fit For Cycling campaign.
  • Peter Walker: Of The Guardian's bike blog.
  • Carlton Reid: The man behind BikeBiz, the Bike Hub website (funded by the Bicycle Association) and ipayroadtax.com.

Possible outcomes

Will the debate make those with real power sit up and take notice? While All-Party Groups can exert pressure on ministers, they generally don’t have the influence of their ‘big brothers’, the Select Committees.

Related links

However, Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley North who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, said that if "we can get the party leaders to commit to cycling in advance of the election we can make some real progress".

Fellow co-chair Julian Huppert stated that financial commitment from central government would be the real measure of success: "It’s time to turn Cameron’s commitment into a year-on-year budget, so that when the cycling inquiry releases its findings they can be acted on quickly and efficiently."

The final report will be published at the end of April 2013, and the public are welcome to attend the sessions on a first come, first served basis. Go to the Cromwell Green entrance to the Houses of Parliament and allow at least 20 minutes to get through security.

Alternatively, for live tweets use the hashtag #getbritaincycling.

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