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Bit of a Shame That!!!!

October 17, 2010

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=bicycling&iid=9559953″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9559953/owner-christian-petersen/owner-christian-petersen.jpg?size=500&imageId=9559953″ width=”360″ height=”226″ /]

Holyhead, Wales – Bye bye Cycle England, bit of a shame but hardly a surprise.

Cycle England will cease to exist in March 2011 hardly a revelation as it was going in 2012 anyway. But thanks to the Coalition Government’s culling of QANGO’s we get an extra year free of rhetoric about cycling, not to mention a real and badly needed saving to the UK taxpayer.

With due deference and acknowledgment to the Monty Python Team. Cycle England is not pining! It’s passed on! Cycle England is no more! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed it to a government policy it would be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolic processes are now history! It’s off the twig! It’s kicked the bucket, its shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin choir invisible!! This is an ex Cycle England.

So what did Cycle England do? Set up by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2005 to promote and facilitate cycling, Cycle England’s annual budget of around £45 million is spent in three areas. About a third goes to the Cycling Towns and Cities Programme funding cycling infrastructure such as cycle routes and cycle parking. A third goes to funding the Bikeablity cycle training scheme. The final third funds, often in cooperation with Sustrans, projects such as Bike and Rail a scheme to improve facilities for cyclists at railway stations.

So around £225 million spent on cycling in the past five years. Not surprising that motorcyclists get a little upset when it comes to Government spend on motorcycling, or rather lack of it. Arguable cyclists contribute, via personal and property taxation, to the Cycle England spend. But then consider motorcyclists, we not only give to the Exchequer via personal and property taxes but also through tax on using the road, tax on petrol, tax on insurance and tax on buying a machine we seem to put  a lot in but not get much out. What’s more our money is being spent on Cycle England!

Then we have the advantage that Bikeability gives Cycle England for where you find Bikeablity you find a Cycle Tour Club (CTC) member, an advocate for cycling and sometime objector to the promotion of other modes. A cosy relationship with Councils and Councillors and thus a voice that is often listened too.

Perhaps our hour is near. Cycling England’s termination means that cycling no longer has a cohesive body to put its case in the corridors of power. Timely that the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI) have commissioned a research report into the disparity, compared with other modes, of the spending of Transport Authorities, County and Local  Councils on motorcycle infrastructure and facilities. Timely that Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, is considering an alternative to Local Transport Plans (LTP). Perhaps this time around reports will not be ignored and LTP’s, or whatever replaces them, will not align us with taxis in the local transport hierarchy.

Upon the honesty of Government:-

The departure of Cycle England has highlighted the ability of the Coalition Government to ignore manifesto pledges at the mere drop of a bicycle pump.

Why only weeks before the Election the Conservatives manifesto promised that “encouraging cycling will be a major priority for a future Conservative Government” while the Liberal Democrats’ manifesto vowed to “further boost cycling through our commitment to improving road safety, road quality and reducing traffic levels, on-road cycling which will make cycling easier, safer and more accessible to all.”

Five months, it seems, is a long time in politics!

Enjoy your riding, while you can still afford too.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Teapot permalink
    October 17, 2010 11:19 pm

    If only we really were treated like taxis – we’d all be able to ride in bus lanes!

    Never mind the fact that we weren’t a chauffeur driven service for well off people….

  2. October 18, 2010 8:43 am

    Maybe it’s now the turn of the machine to rise – the electric vehicle.

    Well over here in Northern Ireland it seems the case, while we wait for this weeks cuts to Northern Ireland’s budget.

    Government departments have announced the progress of a bid for the “Plugged in Places” initiative which offers funding for electric vehicle infrastructure.

    They recognise the need for publicly accessible charging infrastructure to help drivers recharge when they are away from home in key destinations like retail and leisure facilities, in work and car parks.

    Plugged in Places, run by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in London, is offering funding for electric vehicle charging infrastructure to a number of selected cities and regions, successful bids will be announced in January 2011.

    Plugged in Places will provide seed funding, worth up to £30million, to successful consortia.

    £30 million if Northern Ireland is successful or any other region or city is successful is a lot of cash for some volts and amps for a need that isn’t there?

    Roll on “Charging England” and the formation of a new CTC – “Charging The Car” group!

    Who can advocate for continuing free/low tax, no tax on electric, no tax on insurance and no tax on buying a machine, while motorcycling pays the price for its “infernal” combustion engine.

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