The Times has launched a public campaign and 8-point manifesto calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists: Portsmouth Cycle Forum (PCF) calls on our MPs, city councillors and council officers to take note of the Cities safe for Cycling campaign launched by The Times. We welcome the positive response from the Department of Transport and ask them to put together policies and strategies to implement this 8-point plan, as listed below. As the voice for cyclists in Portsmouth, the Cycle Forum would like to assist our authorities and elected representatives, so we would like your comments.
Lorries entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
- PCF: this would be a central government responsibility, but it is up to local leaders to influence national policy to take account of local needs.
The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
- PCF: we are sure our members and supporters could find a large number of such locations. The Forum will press Portsmouth City Council to identify and remedy the priorities.
A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
- PCF: again, this is a national policy but PCC could undertake such a task locally.
Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
- PCF: we support this although motorists may need to be reminded that such a budget would be taken from general taxation, not just ‘road taxes’.
The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
- PCF: more cyclists training is welcome, but should not be seen as a necessity. The government is improving the driving test to take more account of cyclists.
20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
- PCF: this has of course been implemented in Portsmouth, although it still requires policing.
Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
- PCF: this may be worth exploring, but is probably not realistic in the current economic climate.
Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.
- PCF: the city council has a councillor appointed as ‘cycling champion’ for some years, but this has not been successful. However we would welcome a new initiative to appoint a councillor genuinely interested in promoting cycling.