Transport Committee urges Government to make it easier for councils to bring in lower speed limits to make roads safer - and boost cycling spending

The report urges the Government to reach a cycling budget of £10 per head of population by 2020

The Government needs to make it “easier and cheaper” for councils to bring in lower speed limits to reduce the number of cyclists killed Britain’s road, an influential group of MPs has said.

The call for more 20mph speed limits by the Transport Select Committee was accompanied by a demand for a five-fold increase in cycling infrastructure spending to cut casualties.

The policy recommendations come in a major new report into cycling safety released today. It argues for a “cultural change” to ease the tensions between motorists and cyclists and calls for the appointment of a “cycling tsar” to coordinate policy across government.

The report “urges” the Government to reach a cycling budget of £10 per head of population by 2020, compared to the current figure of £2 per head.

“Cycling needs to be seen as an essential part of transport policy and there needs to be a long-term sustainable budget to go with this,” Louise Ellman MP, chair of the committee, told The Independent.

“This means there also needs to be someone in government that has a remit looking at cycling policy across departments.”

She added: “This is not just a problem of a few roundabouts in London. This is a national issue and I urge the Government to take action.”

According to Ms Ellman, any “cycling tsar” needs to be a “Government Minister with clout” who can look at “road design, training, speed limits, education, health policy and HGV regulation”.

Video: Cyclists need to take adequate precautions

Last year 109 cyclists were killed on roads in England, Scotland and Wales, with more than 3,000 serious injuries. The number of deaths was an 8 per cent fall on 2012, but campaigners warned that total cyclist casualties were up 18 per cent compared to the average for 2005 to 2009.

Worryingly for campaigners, today’s report also stated that there is only “limited evidence of a widespread culture that is supportive of cyclists as road users”. This is despite Prime Minister David Cameron calling for a “cycling revolution” following the widespread success of the sport during the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France.

The report’s major policy recommendation is that Government should support local authorities to make it “easier and cheaper for them to introduce 20mph speed limits in high-risk areas”.

Ms Ellman said: “We see clear information that where 20mph zones are implemented we see fewer accidents, the pace of travel is slowed and therefore road users are more aware of each other.”

Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, who is president of the national cycling charity CTC, said: “The positive recommendations made by the select committee are good news.

"But we need out Government to go one step further and make the commitment to at least £10 per head funding to make safe cycling in the UK with immediate effect, not six years from now.”

A spokesperson for the AA told The Independent: “We have no problem with 20mph speed limits in residential areas as long as residents are happy with them.”

Despite the report being broadly welcomed by safety campaigners, Hugh Bladon, a founder of the Alliance of British Drivers, told The Independent: “Quite simply 20mph speed limits will increase the number of accidents.

"It’s a nonsensical policy as police cannot enforce it and you would need a million cameras if you want people to drive at 20mph, which nobody does. What you need is to get a grip on cyclist wearing things in their ears, ignoring the road behind them and listening to what they call music.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own