Liz Clarke (for the ITO group and David Dansky (for TABS) attended the DfT Cycling Forum yesterday in London.
It was well attended with the heads many organisations including Sustrans, CTC, British Cycling, AA, IAM, (BHIT?), PACS, Cycle Nation, Campaign for Better Transport, Living Streets and more. new attendees included people from the Towns award new money for cycling such as Leeds, Cambridge, Manchester and more)
The Minister Norman Baker confirmed the extension of Bikeability and LSTF funding to 2016, he also noted that AA and BSM have increased cyclist awareness modules in their driver training.
Liz asked about Strict Liability for drivers to which the minister responded that this is a 'thorny issue' meaning not politically doable. She also asked about the DfT's Think! campaign which seems to be on the back burner.
There were reports from 3 sub-groups:
Safety Sub group briefly updated about work they are doing regarding cyclists and pedestrians, Looking at any suggested tweaks to the highway code and looked at some information about drivers hazard perception.
Health subgroup highlighted the benefits of active travel. They will be looking art TfL's work on this regarding messaging boroughs about the economic health benefits
Rail Subgroup Phillip Darnton elivered a detailed report about much progress about increased parking at stations, a look at possible rolling stock adaptation and the launch of an app showing which trains have bike spaces available.
Cycling delivery plan
A small working group will be put together to write a draft of the cycling delivery plan for the DfT. Liz and I will be asking to join this group. All the other subgroups will be contributing to this plan. We discussed the need to agree a baseline in order to monitor progress.
A take on the meeting
All in all I thought that the meeting did not really challenge the lack of momentum on getting Britain cycling. A view was expressed that there was back slapping rather than expressions of anger (See this http://thecyclingsilk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/why-am-i-angry.html for some anger). These are valid points though if the Cycling Development Plan is done well and with a time frame and targets it could be a good tool (Like the Cycle Safety Action Plan really moved the London agenda). A main concern is that as we gear up to elections and politicians will be keen not to annoy drivers we may be in a limbo period of promises and no action till post election. (My pennyworth)
Feel free to ask any questions.