Road Safety News

Government cycling strategy a ‘derisory plan’: CTC

Wednesday 22nd October 2014

The CTC has described the Government’s Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan, which was launched last week, as a "derisory plan, not a delivery plan".

CTC says that the fact that the plan was launched “just minutes before the scheduled start of a House of Commons debate on the future of cycling in Britain”, makes “a mockery of Parliament’s role to scrutinise Government strategy and policy”.

Paul Tuohy, CTC chief executive, said: “This is a derisory plan not a delivery plan.

“The Prime Minister’s ‘cycling revolution’ with its Penny Farthing budget is going nowhere unless the Chancellor finds funding for cycling in his Autumn Statement.

“Cycling needs at least £10 a head if we are even to begin catching up with German, Dutch or Danish levels of cycle use.

“If we can afford long term strategies for our roads and railways, why not for cycling? Given its huge benefits to the economy and the environment, our waistlines and our wallets, it is surely foolish not to.”

CTC says the draft plan “lacks any firm commitments to provide the funding for cycling needed to make it a safe and attractive option for day-to-day journeys, for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities”.

It is backing the recommendations made by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) that the Government should commit to at least £10 per head per year - rising to £20 as cycle use increases - and should set a target to boost cycle use from below 2% of trips at present, to 10% by 2025, and 25% by 2050.

Photo courtesy of Chris Fossey



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Just for info:
David Mason-Jones in an article in Hoofbeats states that a horse is a carbon "sink". Interestingly, he states that "the biomass of a horse is a carbon sink in the same way as the biomass of a tree in a forest is a carbon ‘sink.’" The digestive process of horses produces far less methane than the digestive system of cattle and sheep. The horse has a single stomach which can only deal with easily digestible carbohydrates in grasses. Horses are selective grazers and will not eat the tougher grasses because they cannot digest them. Horses simply produce less methane in their digestive system. So the horse's carbon footprint is considerably smaller than an automobile's.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

Many have cited the fact that we are living longer and no one can dispute that fact but it is not as some would believe linked to a healthier lifestyle. History teaches us why. First, during the great war there was concern that the males recruited for the armed forces were not fit enough by far to do the toil required by marching, fighting, digging etc and that was at a time we believe they worked 60 hours or more in mines and mills etc. So physical exercise was created and so fitness during training and a better diet would help improve their health.Many were malnourished.

During the 2nd world war food was going to be scarce and so rationing took place. Dieticians of the day came up with a minimum diet that would help sustain a person. Sugar and sugary foods in particular were kept down to a minimum and the intake (of) fats were reduced. This diet together with the busy day to day energy expired helped to create a healthier and longer lived generation. That's what we have today thanks to those measures that took place when they were kids.

Unfortunately the generations following got fatter on the new wealth and prosperity and those in middle age and younger are suffering from far to much indulgence.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

There are two reasons not to link in horse riding. One, although more strenuous than motorbike riding, the motive power is not human power, but horse power. Two, the use of a horse for short distance commuting or getting to the local shops instead of a motorised vehicle is not really practicable. And in true Monty Python mode - Three I suspect the carbon footprint of a horse is significant, though less than a car for a journey it's motor runs day and night.
Mark, Caerphilly

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)

Why just link cycling with walking? What about horse riding? In Hertfordshire the LAF is encouraging more triple use paths - walkers, cyclists and horse riders, at least in rural areas.
Robert Bolt, St Albans

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I came across this article on the issue which I think adds some useful insight into why increasing cycling helps everyone and even those who do not or never will cycle. It's about their wallets and how a cycling nation will be fitter, healthier and less costly for its health service.

It makes some interesting points which back up CTC's "derisory" claim for the DfT plans on cycling.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (14) | Disagree (1)

Electrically assisted bicycles are exempt from licencing regulations, whereas Cyclemotors and Autocycles, the former being a small i.c. engine attached to either an existing bicycle or suitably strengthened one, are subject to licencing regulations. All are assisted by motors but retain pedals.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

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No, I think a motorbike is called a motorbike Duncan. What I called a power-assisted bike would be a normally pedal-driven bicycle but with the ability to use an (usually) electric motor to assist progress when necessary. I think officially (Dft source) they're called 'electrically assisted pedal cycles' comprised of the key words: 'electrically', 'assisted', 'pedal' and 'cycle'. Not a motorbike at all. Perhaps the Gov't could heavily subsidise them to make then more appealing.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (0)

A power assisted pushbike is called a motorbike Hugh! All the advantages of a pushbike with none of the disadvantages, what's not to like?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (4) | Disagree (11)

During the summer, my car was off the road for about three very hot weeks so I cycled as much as I could. It was 'free'; I lost quite a few pounds; I could park it anywhere; going to the shops and back was actually quicker via routes unavailable to motor vehicles; it was pleasant and no more risky or unsafe than driving or walking. All very well and nice for a while, but cycling has its limitations and I wouldn't want it to be my sole means of transport. The thought of the physical exertion may be putting people off (it did for me initially as I can't get far without having to go up a couple of steep hills) so perhaps power-assisted bikes would entice some reluctant cyclists out of their vehices - for local journeys anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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This just popped up which I think might helpfully add to the debate.

I admit to posting this as I find it so I'll leave it that it needs to be digested and considered before formulating a view. The Chief Medical Officer's advice to adults is interesting though.

“For adults:
1. Adults should aim to be active daily. Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate intensity activity in bouts of ten minutes or more – one way to approach this is to do 30 minutes on at least five days a week.”

The report also says:
“Around one in two women and a third of men in England are damaging their health through a lack of physical activity. This is unsustainable and costing the UK an estimated £7.4bn a year. If current trends continue, the increasing costs of health and social care will destabilise public services and take a toll on quality of life for individuals and communities.”

Public finance support for cycling looks like an increasingly sound investment.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (9) | Disagree (3)

Regarding Paul's comment "Life expectancy has reached record levels without help from cycling".

I would have to observe that people dying now with an average lifespan will have lived much of their lives in a world where physical activity was more prevalent. It may not all have been cycling, but generally life was much less sedentary. This, along with widely available food, health care, and good sanitation are what have continued increasing lifespan. But this will go into reverse if any of these aspects deteriorate, and physical activity is the one of major concern. Cycling is offered as a way of halting the decline not least because it provides meaningful and widely accessible physical activity.
Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton

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That’s a slightly disappointing response. I doubt either of us is in a position to extrapolate the contribution of a single measure to the overall health of the nation but (a) that’s a pretty dismissive attitude towards the work of the WHO (do you have alternatives you can cite?) and (b) you are ignoring my point about quality life years. One of the major issues facing healthcare in the UK is not the means to prolong life but the means to ensure the quality of that longevity and how to reduce dependency on long-term health care during those additional years.

Healthy and active lifestyles are part of that equation – and this week’s news about a future NHS being unsustainable without greater individual responsibility for maintaining a healthy lifestyle is timely. You’re right about cycle injuries though – many more happen than we know about and often involving ‘unforced errors’ by cyclists who do subsequently attend A&E. Even with that knowledge though, I recall the BMA remain convinced about the net health gains from cycling.

As to making a contribution, remember my point about the relationship between cyclists and car drivers – even if we just limited our debate to car tax and excluded all other taxes to which cyclists, like everyone else, are exposed, then it’s clear that the contribution is being made. And ironically without anything like the same level of impact on the highway and its maintenance needs.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (19) | Disagree (4)

The Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) has been used to assess cost savings. It makes assessments and delivers estimates based on improved health of individuals who take up cycling and walking in favour of motorised transport and declares a saving of €x millions per annum. It is one step up from guesswork.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

Thanks Jeremy - but you're mostly in cloud cuckoo land. An average of 2% cycling doesn't have a big effect on anything. Life expectancy has reached record levels without help from cycling - the pension age is continually being raised and the government has difficulty paying for elderly care. Furthermore more cycling would place a greater burden on the NHS - people often fall off their bikes without any help from anyone else. Anyway, if the cycling lobby want more money spent on cycling, then I suggest they put their hands in their own wallets rather than into everyone else's.
Paul Biggs, Staffodshire

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You may find the following helpful: which shows that some thought has gone into the economic value of cycling; where and how these techniques have been applied and to what benefit.

Cycling is often bundled with walking because of their clearly shared attributes of being active and sustainable. Benefits of these modes are often expressed in net health gain, though the knock on benefits for the economy are also clear. Healthy workforces are productive workforces for example. Also, remember that the economy – through associated taxes – pays for the healthcare of those individuals whose quality life years may be expected to increase through increased levels of exercise and for whom active travel is the most pragmatic way of introducing exercise into a busy lifestyle.

As to the design limitation of bicycles as large goods carriers – well, clearly you’ve never toured Europe by bicycle with my wife! Otherwise I can’t argue with that – though I would point out that around 90% of adult cyclists also have a car license. This means their journey is elective – they did not just ride, they chose not to drive. So the hundreds of thousands of cycle journeys per day, sharing road space with commercial vehicles, could have been made by car. I know which scenario is most likely to gets those motorised goods and services delivered fastest and most efficiently.
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (25) | Disagree (7)

What 'huge benefits' does cycling provide? Anyone got any hard, genuine figures for this claim compared to motorised transport? Cycling simply isn't fit for the purpose of moving goods and people around the UK - i.e. the economy. If the relatively few who cycle stopped the economy would barely notice. If motorised road transport stopped the economy would collapse. Note how cycling has to be twinned with walking in order to try and justify it?
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (13) | Disagree (31)