In November, Times journalist Mary Bowers was just yards from arriving at work on her bike when she was hit by a lorry. Mary, 27, is still not conscious and is making a slow recovery in hospital.Tragically, such an accident is far from rare. More than 27,000 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on British streets in the past 10 years.On the urban roads of Britain today cyclists need to be fit for cities. Cycling should be both safe and pleasurable. Ministers, mayors and local authorities must build cities that are fit for cycling.
The Times has launched a public campaign and 8-point manifesto calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists:
- Lorries entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
- The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
- A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
- Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
- The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
- 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
- Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
- Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.