I have been absent from this blog, but I continue to cycle every day.
I still enjoy it no matter how poor the cycling infrastructure is at the moment. I have good days in which I think it’s not too bad, I have bad days in which I think I’d rather move to a cycling supportive city instead, a la` David Hembrow.
But, above all, I continue to be committed to act in my work to promote and enable cycling and to campaign at grassroot level.
I was pleasantly surprised (and I haven’t stopped circulating) this excellent BBC feature “Why do so many Dutch people cycle?”, which if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you do. The video is an enjoyable, brief 11minutes long:
But most importantly on the 2nd of September (so only in a couple of weeks time) the Get Britain Cycling report will be debated in the main chamber of the House of Commons.
This is our chance to contact our MPs to spur them (or poke them, you choose!) to back up the necessity of and commitment for safe and segregated cycling infrastructure.
I have contacted my local MP, Gerald Kaufman, and here’s what I wrote to him.
[To find out who your MP is, simply go to WriteToThem, type your postcode and voila`, easy peasy]
Dear Gerald Kaufman,
I am writing to you to ask for your support to encourage the development of safe and segregated cycling infrastructure come the 2nd of September, when the Get Britain Cycling report will be debated in the main chamber of the House of Commons.
I am an everyday cyclist. I enjoy cycling and I use it daily as my main mode of transport in Manchester and Greater Manchester.
I cycle because I find it healthy, because I find that it saves me money and I am keen to use a mode of transport that is sustainable in our built environment.
I cycle despite lack of safe, segregated infrastructure. I have learnt to use as many side street and quiet roads as possible to avoid heavy traffic, because the bullying of drivers is not only unpleasant but utterly dangerous.
Only recently, on the 3rd of August, Jaye Bloomfielda was hit by a wreckless driver in Manchester (near Princess Parkway/Mancunian Way) and she lost her life. Why? She simply chose cycling as her mode of transport.
Cycling continues to be one of the safest mode of transport, there’s plenty of statistics that show this, however one death is one too many (unfortunately the UK counts around 100 cyclist deaths a year). And we want to encourage more people to cycle, in a safe and pleasant environment, of all ages and abilities!
Manchester wants to become Britain’s No1 city for cycling, which is great to hear, but we want and we nee safe, segregated cycling infrastructure.
It can be done if there’s political will and commitment from Government and from Local Authorities. Excuses about lack of space on existing roads, are an excuse. If there is a will, there is a way. We have plenty of positive examples from other cities around Europe (so we don’t even have to go far to learn from them!) that can show us how it is possible.
This excellent recent BBC feature, shows exactly the stark contrast between the commitment to cycling and cycling infrastructure of countries like the Netherlands, versus the lack of commitment and lack of infrastructure in the UK.
Will you back up the Get Britain Cycling report in favour of safe and segregated cycling infrastructure?
I hope you do, it will be a very positive action you can take for your constituents here in Levenshulme and across Manchester, and indeed get Britain cycling!
Please take time to write to your MP, it will be 5 minutes really worth spending. It is our chance, of everyday cyclists, to make our voices heard.
PS – If you would like to use my letter as a starting point, feel free! The more of us write to our MPs, the better.