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British Cycling's Choose Cycling Charter launched

Cycle commuters in front of Debenhams

Cycle commuters, by Tejvan Pettinger, Flickr, Licence CC BY 2.0

British Cycling yesterday launched its Choose Cycling Charter, and is urging local authorities to sign up to it. It has already been endorsed by British Cycling's Choose Cycling network, which includes some of the UK's biggest businesses, who between them employ more than half a million people, and by a number of elite athletes. 

The name of the Charter echoes British Cycling's 2014 10-point Choose Cycling manifesto.

To develop the Charter, British Cycling consulted 20,000 of its members on which issues should be prioritised in order to make cycling in Britain easier, safer, and more appealing.

The Choose Cycling Charter states: 'To transform Britain into a true cycling nation we will work to deliver' better places, smarter investment, and strong leadership.

Better places

Cycle Superhighway 2, London

Better places means networks of cycling infrastructure to create space for cycling, with properly enforced rules so that they can be used by all.

The 'better places' part of the Charter notes that, 'There is huge potential for growth in everyday cycling, but we need to provide the right environment. The fact is that - unless we build designated space for cyclists - only the bold and the brave will do it.'

The Charter says that there is now no disagreement as to the value of providing segregated cycle lanes, and when built to best-practice standards, they can support all types of cycling from kids to commuters. British Cycling recommends the widespread adoption of segregated cycle lanes alongside main roads. 'These should be supported by quiet routes, where motor traffic is filtered out, and traffic calming on residential roads.'

'These measures must be the essential components of any local cycling infrastructure plan...Networks must be coherent and continuous, giving the user confidence that they will find their way, and not be left to fend for themselves on a busy road or junction.'

'Rural roads popular for cycling must be well-maintained [and] have a lower speed limit in place.'

The Charter asks the national government to support the process through 'match funding, setting best practice standards, and ensuring that properly enforced rules of the road enhance cycle safety, and that only safe vehicles and drivers are allowed on the road.'

Smarter investment

The 'smarter investment' part of the Charter says that cycling, like driving, should be an integral part of our transport fabric, and a normal part of everyday life. It stresses the benefits of cycling.

It says that long-term investment plans are needed. 'It is too simplistic to put a figure on the investment required,' according to the Charter, which is a departure from what British Cycling and other cycle campaign organisations have said in the past. (The 2013 APPCG report reflected that, by asking for £10 per head, rising to £20). In the Charter, British Cycling recommends that 5% of public sector transport budgets to be spent on cycling. They also say, 'all relevant sources of funding should be 'cycle-proofed', meaning that they should work to accommodate cycling, so all new developments make improvements.'

Strong leadership

In the 'strong leadership' section, British Cycling state: 'Not a single political leader who has embraced cycling has ended up regretting it.' It also asserts that 'the will to transform towns and cities often isn't just about cycling, it's about something bigger.'

The reasons for encouraging cycling can be to increase mobility for poorer people, to expand transport capacity, or to tackle climate change and improve road safety. To achieve it, bold and brave action is required from politicians. If you make cycling look difficult, people won't do it.

The Charter points out that behaviour changes are possible, and have happened - for example, seatbelts, smoking, and plastic bags.


There's a video to accompany the launch of the Choose Cycling Charter:

Supporting the Choose Cycling Charter

You can support the Choose Cycling Charter via Thunderclap.

Another effective way to support the Charter would be to ask your local authority to sign up to it.

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