We have had the grand total of ONE response from general election candidates for our two constituencies to our letter asking for their views on cycling. This came [not from Mrs Trellis of North Wales but] from Cat Smith, the Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, as follows:
Thank you for your email regarding cycling.
I appreciate the economic, health and environmental benefits which cycling provides and agree we need to be doing to support cycling both locally and across the UK. This is why Labour is committed to inviting the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend the next stages for developing and upgrading the National Cycle Network as well as reaffirming the commitments in the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
I think there is a case for going further still and I therefore welcome the Space for Cycling campaign. I would be very happy to work with Dynamo to ensure that Lancashire County Council are putting the necessary resources into cycling.
I was interested to read the findings of the APPG report and think their recommendations are very sensible. I can see no reason why the next Government should not adopt them.
Finally in relation to strict liability for cyclists and pedestrians I approach this with an open mind and would like to look at the evidence at how effective this would be in promoting safe and sensible driving. I would be particularly interested at looking at how it has operated in the countries which you refer to in your letter.
I look forward to working with Dynamo on these matters if re-elected on June 8th.
To be fair, we did receive a very positive response from Robin Long, a Lib Dem candidate to the County Council back in May, to our letter which posed more strictly local questions. He is now the Lib Dem candidate for the Lancaster and Fleetwood parliamentary constituency, so it seems reasonable to assume that his views have not changed and to post his earlier reply here:
. . . Firstly, thank you for the campaigning you have done over the years – I cycle to work with my two children in tow, and suspect that many of the cycle paths would not be there without the work of you and your organization.
Secondly, in response to your questions:
1: Yes. I think we need to encourage a lot more cycling and walking to schools. There are many ways that this can be achieved, and this has been demonstrated in other areas across the country. We should learn from what has worked and not worked in other places and try to implement some ideas in the area.
2: Yes, again I think this is very much needed. I have had so many near misses on and around the A6 especially, that are due to poor visibility and/or poor road layout. There is much that can and should be done across the area.
3: I agree that it [the County’s transport budget allocated to cycling] should increase. In general, I am not a supporter of setting aside X% of a budget for certain purposes – in my experience, this is where money has the potential to get wasted in the future. However, I would want to look at what Edinburgh and Cambridge are spending their funds on, and how Lancashire could replicate the most effective schemes. I would also prioritize working with anyone / supporting any budget at County where the outcome is fully transparent and public – in that way at least we could see the numbers for cycling and other services in order to critique it properly.
If you have any further questions, or want me to clarify anything, please send me a reply.