The birth of the cycling vote

פורסם: 4 בספט׳ 2013, 7:06 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 4 בספט׳ 2013, 7:25 ]
By Jason Torrance, 3 September 2013
birth of cycling vote

Imagine the day when you approach the polling booth on Election Day and have to weave through a sea of bike parking. As people wheel in, poised to cast their votes, candidates will be outside, vying for your attention with the most competitive plan to make your commute by bike easier, safer and more pleasant.

Last night that dream came a little bit closer to becoming a reality. The Get Britain Cycling debate in Westminster’s House of Commons may have heralded a new dawn.

The birth of the cycling vote.

More than 5,000 cyclists surrounded Parliament last night, while inside MPs from both sides of politics spoke passionately about the need for change.  It’s been said that 100 parliamentarians attended the debate, with about 30 members speaking and pledging their support to get more Britons on their bikes.

At the end of four hours of spirited debate, where MPs listed the endless health, economic and environmental benefits of increasing cycling levels, the motion was passed unanimously to rousing applause.

But we all know action speaks louder than words.

There has been some heartening progress this year, with the government putting significant money in place to help start the cycling revolution but there's still a long way to go. Without targets, a minimum spend per head or a cycle champion, we won't even come close to realising our potential as a cycling nation.

But politicians are starting to sit up and take notice. At the Liberal Democrat Party Conference in Glasgow this September, Julian Huppert will move a motion to have the recommendations of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report adopted as policy to take to the next election. And last night Labour’s Shadow Transport Minister, Maria Eagle, laid out an ambitious eight point plan for cycling.

Each party now has impressive plans and proposals that could be placed front and centre in transport policy and could carry forward a cycling revolution, if and only if, barriers to cycling are removed such as current government plans to increase parking on our high streets.

As Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley North and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, told the House:

“Let’s get the parties to compete to produce the best manifesto for cycling at the election.

All in favour, say ‘aye’. AYE!