bumper issue of history repeating 1

This whole "debate" of two speeches is packed with amazing snippets for the archives of history repeating. From Hansard, 16 May 1985.

We've got claims that there is a cycling revolution going on, that the department is "encouraging" local authorities to do something, cycle training, a campaign against close overtakes, and even cycling demonstration towns! I didn't realise that cycling demonstration towns had already been done before, 27 years ago…

Mrs Lynda Chalker (Wallasey)
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey, South-West (Mrs. Bottomley) on her choice of this important and topical subject. It is important because cycling is a growth area, and topical because this is national bike week. I was pleased to receive the handsome chain wheel, to which my hon. Friend referred, and was sorry not to be able to go to receive it in person. I hope that we shall all continue to do what we can to ensure that safe cycling is well promoted.
The debate gives me the opportunity to consider the cycle content of the Highway Code. I must tell my hon. Friend that the Highway Code is but a part of the wide range of measures and advice that can be given. First, let me set out some of the background to our approach to cycling and cycle provision. Cycling has always been popular with the young. In recent years, it has become more popular with adults. I am told that bike sales now outnumber car sales. The reasons are clear. Cycling is a cheap, personal and healthy way to travel. For many local journeys, it can be the quickest. On those grounds alone, I am glad to see the increase in cycling popularity.

There is no magic way to reduce cycling casualties. We are all involved in it. The Government's role is clear. We should set the framework for safer cycling, and provide information, help and advice to local authorities in developing their policies for cyclists. My starting point is the cycling policy statement in 1982. Since then, we have made good progress, including legislation for cycle tracks, regulations on cycle standards and new signs for cyclists. My Department considers the provision of cycle facilities on trunk roads each time it considers a trunk road scheme. There are cycling officers in all the regional offices, and we encourage local authorities to provide cycle facilities on their roads. There is a programme of innovative local schemes.
My hon. Friend paid tribute to last year's successful national publicity campaign. I also want to see cycleway encouraged further; that is why I am considering it with my right hon Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. The more young people who are properly trained as cyclists, the safer they will be as adult cyclists.

But we need ingenuity, too. Many of the 21 innovatory cycling schemes now being introduced show great ingenuity, and tackle the problems to which my hon. Friend referred, including provisions to cross busy roads, negotiate junctions and cope with roundabouts, and the shared use of cycle paths. They all tackle local problems with local solutions. I shall always remain ready to consider proposals for new schemes and new ideas that will improve cycling safety.
Beyond those more straightforward measures are the five cycle demonstration projects, which offer comprehensive provision of routes for cycling in urban areas. I am pleased to say that the first scheme will be officially opened tomorrow by the mayor of Stockton-on-Tees. Others will follow in Canterbury, Nottingham, Bedford and Exeter.
Although we are doing much more now than we used to, and much of what I have said offers better and safer means of travel for cyclists, we must see what more can be done. But at the end of the day, what is better and safer depends on better and safer behaviour by all road users. We cannot say, as some cyclists do, that motorists must take all the blame for cycle accidents; and we certainly cannot say, as some motorists do, "If only there were no cyclists." We must live together on our congested streets, and there must be more give and take, perhaps not only between cyclists and motorists but among all road users, whatever their vehicles, or even if they are on foot. That will not be achieved by Government alone. It depends on each of us as an individual road user.

Valuable work is being done by all the organisations concerned with cycling, particularly the CTC, which is making other road users more conscious of the bike and the need to give it a wide berth when overtaking it. As a result of that teamwork, we shall have safer, and therefore more enjoyable, cycling.

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One thought on “bumper issue of history repeating

  • David Hembrow

    Yes, Britain has been stuck in a loop for as long as I can remember (and I’m as old as the hills).For decades, "cyclists" have campaigned for more respect / more space when overtaking / more training / different liability law, councils and government have repeatedly claimed they’re just about to start really doing things properly… However, nothing actually gets changed.This is why campaigners need to move on from making such mild and ineffective demands, and the government needs to be held accountable for far more than just yet another "demonstration" what we already know.