Derby Cycling Group asked all six of the political parties what their policies are regarding cycling ahead of the council elections on May 3rd. This is how we think they faired, in the order in which we have received the feedback (to be updated as more information comes in):
We received a copy of Labour’s Derby manifesto from Paul Bayliss. Only one item covered transport (relating to buses within the Green Agenda policies). Cycling is not mentioned at all, which is disappointing. In his covering e-mail, Paul Bayliss has however agreed that cycling would be part of the mix of initiatives to help achieve their Green Agenda. But this agenda is unfortunately vague and has few concrete proposals.
On cycling – Labour needs some positive, practical, policies.
2. Liberal Democrats
Hilary Jones for the Liberal Democrats set out a comprehensive vision for the return of a “cycle city” status to Derby. Her statement covers the need to consider cycling during the planning process, designing cycle routes and on-site facilities into new commercial developments, increasing safety by introducing 20mph speed limits and even details such as better cycle route signage and the introduction of non-slip manhole covers. She also expressed continued support for the new Velodrome (which “was a Liberal Democrat idea”).
We think there has been considerable thought relating to cycling by the Lib Dems, and the Velodome will be a huge asset to the city. We think – A job well done.
3. Green Party
David Clasby from the Green Party is a Derby Cycling Group member as well as a Green Party candidate. He has provided a very comprehensive view of the Green Party’s cycling policy, culminating with their aim to make Derby “the UK’s leading cycling city by 2020 with 20% of journeys by bike”. Their policy covers cycle friendly planning, making cycling the top priority in Derby’s Local Transport Plan, council funded cycle training for adults as well as children and the creation of safer streets to encourage new cyclists including 20mph zones, advanced stop areas at all traffic lights and more attractive cycle routes through parks and open spaces. They also advocate more controversial policies such as opening pedestrian areas to cycling, contra-flow cycle lanes on one-way streets and look to allow turning left on red for cyclists at traffic lights. They do also point out the importance that “all users feel safe” (when travelling about).
This policy is thorough, it has aspiration and it has detail. Our verdict – The one to beat.
Alan Graves for UKIP told us he has been a “strong supporter” of cycling locally in Alvaston, especially supporting cyclists at the Neighbourhood Forum, in relation to the creation and running of the national standard BMX race track in Alvaston Park and ensuring the new London Road rail bridge has more space for cyclists. He thinks the council has a strong policy towards cycling which he would keep. We are very grateful for this support, but we would like to see positive policies from UKIP as well. We are however pleased that Steve Fowkes, the Derby UKIP leader, has offered to meet with Derby Cycling Group after the election.
For UKIP – We look forward to working with them in the future.
Matthew Holmes, the incumbent cabinet member for transport, wrote to us about the Conservative’s cycling policy. It covers the inclusion of cycling in the planning of new developments with council and planners “encouraged” (we’d prefer “required”) to engage and consult with stakeholders and working with neighbouring authorities to extend cycle routes beyond the city boundary. Matthew too wants Derby to be a “cycling city” and supports many revenue based initiatives such as cycle training, travel plans and a route planning service, as well as capital funded facilities (cycle paths and lanes, including some contra-flow schemes, etc). The Conservative’s unique ideas in this review are a cycle hire scheme and a specific focus on increasing the proportion of commuting journeys made by bike.
Overall this is a focused approach with the potential to deliver good and measurable results – a good working policy.
Paul Hilliard from the BNP recounted his early years on his bike riding to work and the pleasure he derived from rides in the country. He went on the say he thought that encouraging children to cycle more to school, making people more aware of cycle routes around Derby (especially the off-road routes) and provision of more cycle lanes and cycle stands would all help with problems of congestion, pollution, health and obesity. He also noted that some of these things cost little money and could benefit anyone. Finally he said that if elected he would like to meet us to discuss what more the BNP could do to help cyclists.
In summary, a welcome appreciation of the basic cycling issues and the advantages that cycling can bring.
For the Future
It is very encouraging to find well presented policies from half of the local political parties. Some of the ideas are aspirational, others are more practical, but there is a good basis to deliver a better future for cyclists in Derby. If the Conservatives, the Green Party or the Liberal Democrats are running the council after the election, or have a share of it, Derby Cycling Group hopes to see rapid progress in developing these ideas because current practice and experience do not match these policy aspirations.
UKIP and the BNP have a good basic platform on which to build, but Labour do need to think hard about the benefits which cycling can bring to Derby, we think they do not yet have the whole picture. There is a need for these three parties to further develop positive policies, either on their own or by talking to organisations such as Derby Cycling Group about the issues cyclists and would-be cyclists face and what is needed to make things better. We are pleased with the offers made to discuss cycling further.
You can view the full text of each party’s reply in the article below this one.