The safety of cyclists on Britain’s roads will be debated by MPs in Parliament on Thursday, February 23.

A three-hour slot has been allocated in Westminster to discuss the pressing concern of cycle safety. The debate was put forward by Dr Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG).

Many of the items under discussion arise from the Times newspaper’s Cities Fit for Cycling campaign launched at the beginning of February.

The campaign called for a wide-ranging review of road safety for cyclists, and included better education of road users, lower speed limits in urban areas, improvements to road infrastructure and better long-term investment in cycling.

British Cycling, the national governing body for cycle sport, has also called for mutual respect among road users and has made representations at the APPCG.

According to the Times, 58 MPs across all political parties have already backed the paper’s campaign.

The Times has a facility on its website for people to write to their MP directly expressing their concerns on cycle safety ahead of Thursday’s debate.

A ‘flash ride’ in London has been organised to take place on Wednesday evening so that cyclists can air their public support for the debate. Hundreds, if not thousands, of riders are expected to take part in the ride from the Mall to Westminster. The ride starts at 6.15pm.

Last year 16 cyclists were killed on the streets of London as a result of collisions with other vehicles.

Official statistics from the House of Commons show that 111 cyclists were killed on British roads in 2010, with 2,660 seriously injured. The latter figure is the highest this century whilst the number of deaths is the lowest in 61 years.

On average, 66 miles were travelled using a bike by every male in the UK in 2010, with a much lower figure of just 19 miles for females. A total of three billion vehicle miles were made by bike during 2010, which is one per cent of the total journeys made by all vehicles. In 1950, 12.4 billion vehicle miles were travelled by bike.

The urgency of the debate on mutual respect among road users was highlighted last week when Bristol bus driver Gavin Hill was jailed for 17 months for intentionally running down cyclist Phillip Mead in April 2011. The incident was caught on CCTV (below). Mead suffered a broken leg as a result of the incident.

Related links

London Cycling Campaign says we should be more like Dutch

British Cycling calls for road safety reforms

How Britain has failed cycling

  • steve clarke

    I agree with most of the comments, in order to gain respect, one must show respect… however we must all remember that in a argument between a car driver and a cyclist it’s always the cyclist who will come off worse.

    The Government will not encourage cycling in a big way because the road lobby is too strong and they are in their pockets!

  • Phil Riley

    Adam (above). I suppose that would explain why this bus driver has done what he has. He must have wittnessed one of the extraordinary incidents you describe. Having witnessed the extraordinary incident of this bus driver deliberately swerving into the cyclist then it must mean it’s o.k. for cyclist to go around doing similair things to motorists. I must remember to force a few drivers down ravines next time I’m out driving. After all it’s o.k. to do that because I’ve been witness to some extraordinary incidents of vehicles being deliberately held up.

  • Jon

    I’d like to second Adam Staines’ comment. Certain drivers seem hellbent on venting their rage on cyclists, and while the behaviour of some cyclists doesn’t in any way excuse their actions, if cyclists were perceived as considerate and responsible road users it would go a long way towards improving the situation. It would remove any “justification” for the Mr Angries out there.

    From personal experience though, I encounter 3-4 dangerous / aggressive drivers a week and witness maybe 5 incidents of antisocial cycling a year. I’m in a semi-rural environment but it does seem that psychotic drivers are a lot more numerous that bad cyclists.

  • Adam Staines

    As a regular cyclist, may I suggest that the behaviour of a small minority of bicycle users does nothing to help the safety of the majority, to which I belong? I have seen extraordinary incidents, such as groups of cyclists in racing gear, on both urban and rural roads, cycling two or more abreast and deliberately holding up other vehicles. On shared paths, I’ve witnessed cyclists harassing pedestrians and even threatening to ride at small children.

    The unfortunate truth is that such incidents remain in the mind of witnesses and creates a climate in which stupid people ‘retaliate’ against innocent cyclists. If we want to be treated with respect, we must treat others with respect.

  • phil j

    I cant tell you what i,d say to that bus driver when he came out of jail and my leg had mended, but the sentance would contain the words fist and lower mandevil.
    I,d probably get a longer sentance because what i hit him with was nowhere as heavy as a psv.
    Why wasnt the driver man enough to get out of his bus and speak to the cyclist because everyone knows cyclists are a harmless irritation to motorists, an easy target to shout abuse at when you can just accelerate away from them and not see them again.

  • Mark Jones

    At last, something is being done but this is too late for those who have lost a relative or have been injured by this wreckless driving. I have just emailed my MP to ask for his support.

  • Mark S

    Only 66 miles per male in 2010? Bloody hell that’s only 3 1/2 days with of commuting :-D Mind you I guess with such a small modal share 1% of the males doing 1000′s of miles each would average out quite low…..