Friday, May 7, 2010

LCC Manifesto

Waltham Forest's Freewheeler deconstructs the LCC Manifesto here.

I agree with a lot of Freewheeler says, but I think he misses the point a little bit. The point of the LCC Manifesto is to frame something that local candidates can sign up to. Anything calling for massive investment or radical change would be pointless, because no candidate with a realistic chance of getting elected could sign up in good faith. We know from reading the national manifestos of the major parties that none of them regard cycling as a vote-winner. I don't think anyone at the LCC is happy with the status quo, but they also know that they have very little power to change things.
However, there are a few things I would add to the LCC Manifesto:

1. Safe Routes to Schools. Everyone loves kids, and most people (at least people my age) remember fondly the freedom that having a bike gives a child. Everyone thinks children should be kept safe. Most people would agree that active travel has a role in combating childhood obesity. Most people don't like the 'school run', because of the congestion, pollution and danger that it brings. So why isn't the LCC campaigning for the right of every child to cycle in safety to school? This seems like a politically realistic first step to getting safe infrastructure for cycling.

2. Stop Wasting Money on Stupid Cycle Schemes. In this age of austerity, we should be spending money on worthwhile schemes, not wasting it on painting narrow sub-standard cycle lanes on busy roads and allowing cars to park in the lanes. And spending years of local authority employees' time drawing up plans for these stupid schemes and consulting with people who don't understand cycling. Fix the rules so that sensible schemes can be implemented cheaply and quickly. Any scheme should given a real safety benefit to cyclists.

3. Let Residents Own Their Streets. You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that while many people love their cars, they don't like their residential areas being turned into rat-runs. It brings down house prices for a start. We need to harness this grassroots desire for quieter, safer streets and use it to promote active travel, turning streets into quiet Home Zones where only residents and visitors drive.

I think it's intiatives like these, which are local, have high value and appeal to a broad spectrum of people - not just regular cyclists - are the way forward for cycle campaigning.

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