Yorkshire cycling website


CWIS consultation

17th March 2018

Bicycle traffic lights, Leeds-Bradford cycle route

The DfT launched a consultation on 9th March 2018, asking for help, ideas, and evidence on how to make cycling and walking safer. It invites 'those with an interest in improving safety of cyclists and pedestrians' to provide evidence, including drawing on experience from other countries. It is phase 2 of the DfT's cycle safety review. Phase 1 involves creating new offences for cyclists, and (unlike phase 2) is regarded as an urgent priority.

CWIS consultation: Jesse Norman's foreword

Jesse Norman's foreword includes the usual selective use of statistics to make it look as though the government is spending a lot on cycling, but fails to mention that planned spending is about to fall off a cliff. The minister also refers to an increase in cycling in London - something which has nothing whatever to do with the DfT, and is entirely down to ex-Mayor Boris Johnson, and Andrew Gilligan. The foreword mentions an ambition to make cycling be seen as easy, fun, and safe - which is good if it is actually backed up with policy and funding.

The foreword ends thus: 'We are looking for great ideas, for evidence of what works, for examples of good practice from other countries, for innovative technologies, for imaginative solutions, and for idealism tempered with a sense of the practical. Over to you!'

I find that final paragraph irksome. It reads like a One Show script, launching a competition to design a poster or come up with a new recipe. Cycle safety should be taken seriously, not treated as a jolly jape. There's also more than a hint that the DfT is looking for 'great', 'innovative' ideas as a way of being cheap. In reality, Martin Smith from Bearwood isn't going to have a sudden brainwave about a new bike light, or a special hat, that means cycling becomes easy, fun, and safe. What's needed is well-known already, and it will require political will, not endless dithering, and money to build cycle infrastructure.

CWIS consultation: introduction

The introduction reiterates the ambition already stated in the CWIS, that walking and cycling should be the natural choices for shorter journeys.

It states that the government wants 'more people to have access to safe, attractive routes for cycling and walking by 2040'. 2040 seems to be this government's default 'it's far enough in the future, that we'll never be held accountable for it' date. It's spectacularly unambitious here, because the DfT isn't even promising anything specific by their long-time-in-the-future date, just 'more' routes - actually, not even that, but 'more people to have access' to routes. With an expanding population, that will probably happen even if they do nothing whatsoever.

'The aim of this Call for Evidence is to support an open and comprehensive review of how we can address the issues that cyclists and pedestrians face, or perceive, when using our road infrastructure...'

CWIS consultation: how to respond

There's an online response form, or you can send an email to CWIS.safety@dft.gsi.gov.uk. The consultation runs until 1st June 2018.

Answers are organised according to the following themes:

  • infrastructure and signs
  • the law and the rules of the road
  • training
  • educating road users
  • vehicles and equipment
  • attitudes and public perceptions

Responses should be based on evidence and support the government's aim to increase walking and cycling.

Despite my gripes about the foreword and the introduction, the questions are relevant. Maybe they shouldn't be asked as if these were new subject areas: organisations like British Cycling and Cycling UK have been telling the government the answers for years, and it hasn't been listening. Setting that aside, if the government is now ready to listen, that's a good thing. We'll only know whether it is truly listening when we see what action follows this consultation.

CWIS consultation: next steps

A summary of responses and next steps will be published within three months of the close of the consultation.

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Birketts dangerous cycling report

9th March 2018

Law firm Birketts have produced a report about the possible introduction of new cycling offences. They were commissioned by the DfT as part of Jesse Norman's urgent review which definitely isn't a knee-jerk reaction to the Alliston case. Read about the Birketts dangerous cycling report.

Santander bikes, London Cycle Superhighway, LondonSantander bikes near King's Cross

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