One week to go till the great #GetBritainCycling debate; have you asked your MP yet?

In just one week's time MPs will sit in the House of Commons for the most significant debate on cycling in a decade.  Monday the 2nd of September is the biggest opportunity we have to secure a safer cycling future in this country - but only if your MP shows up.

Last week the Government set out to try and pre-empt the debate by announcing some one-off funding and making lots of positive noises about bicycles.  At first this might seem to be a great thing, but as I explained in detail on my blog previously it is in fact a cynical attempt by the Government to avoid being legislatively bound to annual funding at a national level, and being forced with statute to actually continue their commitment.

Illustrator @davewalker of fame has created this simple infographic that covers everything the Get Britain Cycling report has asked for, that even the most junior Minister should be able to understand.

MPs will only show up to this debate if they think there are votes in it for them and that it is the popular and right thing to do.  It's down to you, the cycle-supporting public, to tell them to be there and to "vote bike".  British Cycling, CTC and the LCC are asking us all to write to our MPs.  Britsh Cycling have an excellent template letter you can use, and it takes 3 minutes using the excellent, secure writetothem website.

Alternatively, why not Tweet your MP?  Here's a comprehensive list of politicians accounts, so you can find out if your MP is a -twitter, or not.  Ask them if they're attending, and use the hashtag #cyclesafe or #getbritaincycling

Some MPs have already responded to letters saying how much they support cycling, and that this support is demonstrated by the funding announced by the Government recently.  If your MP is currently in power, then this is the sort of form letter you are going to receive.  You'll need to write to them again to explain, firmly but politely, that whilst you welcome the funding you want to see an ongoing national commitment, and that was has been announced so far is simply not enough.  Crack out those writing pens because time is running out!

Lastly, the London Cycling Campaign are organising their next space4cycling protest to coincide with the House of Commons debate - all the details are here - and it will be fantastic to see Parliament surrounded by passionate people on bikes as inside (hopefully) our elected representatives make a commitment to our safer cycling future.

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congokid said...

Loved the Cycling Safety graphic, and I've written to my local MP.

And I've asked local friends who occasionally use bicycles, primarily for fitness/leisure, if they would write as well. Unfortunately that's only two people, but at least it's two more people who ride bikes than I knew in London!

A couple of weeks ago I also wrote to local town and county councils asking about their local cycling provision plans - not had anything back apart from an automated response. I somehow expect any eventual response to be more disappointing than a complete lack of one...

Edwardian Fred said...

I've used my crystal ball to see into the future for the government's response:

1. Fine, we'll do this right after the next period of runaway inflation when £10 is 50p in today's money.
2. Ok, we'll measure that as the proportion of miles travelled by all modes. Including air travel.
3. Certainly, that way you'll need approval from every budget holder in Whitehall for even the smallest scheme. Should stop any money being actually spent.
4. All new developments will have a smattering of random ASLs and copious 'cyclist dismount' signs.
5. There you go, we've improved the font.
6. The CTC rejected this in 1933- make up your minds already!
7. How about some friendly 'cyclists dismount' signs?
8. We'll ensure they're regulated into infeasibility.
9. No problem. Unfortunately there's no budget for enforcement as the new signs cost so much.
10. Our data shows that peak cycling times are 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
11. We intend to enforce 'cyclist dismount' signs vigorously.
12. Good idea (providing the school opts in and pays for it).
13. We're all over this one. Look, we are doing something for cyclists (and it's far cheaper than actual infrastructure)!
14. Helmets and hi vis are safe and normal. We asked John Franklin.
15. We plan to make a plan for the plan by 2055. The plan is to do nothing, btw.
16. How about John Franklin?
17. Sure! We'll quietly drop this one when you're not looking anyway.
18. We have a junior back bencher in a perilously marginal constituency already lined up for the job!

In the meantime you'll need to keep driving; we want that tax revenue!