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Monday, 5 February, 2001, 14:44 GMT
'On yer bike', say Tories
Bernard Jenkin (front) and cycling MPs
Bernard Jenkin (front) is pledging safer cycling
The Conservatives have unveiled plans to improve the safety and attractiveness of cycling as an alternative form of transport.

Many people would choose to use their bike more often if cycling was made safer and more convenient

Bernard Jenkin
The shadow transport secretary, Bernard Jenkin, who is an enthusiastic cyclist himself, said: "It is well known that Conservatives are the party of the motorist. We are also the party of the cyclist.

"I am glad to commit a future Conservative government to ambitious action to improve cycling in Britain."

Mr Jenkin, a familiar figure around Westminster in his cycling helmet and bicycle clips, said this would build on the achievements of previous Tory governments.

He said his party had pioneered the National Cycling Strategy, the London Cycle Network, and introduced cycle lanes on roads across the country.

cycling in traffic
Tories promise a safer future for cyclists
"For shorter journeys, cycling is quick, cheap and environmentally-friendly. Many people would choose to use their bike more often if cycling was made safer and more convenient," he said.

The Tories point out that cycling accounts for many more journeys in other countries with pedal power accounting for only one per cent of all passenger journeys in Britain.

"The current government has done nothing to improve that. They have even got rid of the targets we set to double cycling over this parliament, " said Mr Jenkin.

Journeys by Bike
Britain - 1%
Germany - 2.6%
Denmark - 5.8%
Holland - 6.6%
"Safer cycling will encourage more cycling. We will set targets for the reductions of cycling deaths and injuries on our roads."

A Tory government would encourage ways of segregating cycles from traffic and educating all road users about the dangers cyclists face.

Motorists who park in cycle or bus lanes will risk strict fines or even the impounding of their vehicles while the "minority" of cyclists who break traffic laws will also face a tougher approach.

"These and other policies announced today will help make cycling a safer and more attractive transport option," said Mr Jenkin.

Bernard Jenkin
Bernard Jenkin - 'amibitious action' to improve cycling
But Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat Environment spokesman, dismissed the Tory initiative.

"The Tories' first concern was always for the car economy. It is a bit rich for them now to claim they are the cyclist's friend," he said.

"The fact is that road traffic has increased steadily over many years and today's claims sit uneasily with the Tories' failure to invest in public transport over 18 years of government."

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