1 May 2013

Election special- County Councillor candidate views on cycling

There are many factors which can influence your vote in county elections. Much strategy and spending for cycling is instigated by the County council. County councilors views count....and so do your votes. We're seeing cycling being brought up in local leafletting by at least one major party.

Most of the major parties say good things about cycling and we will be following up with victorious candidates.

The IAM- (Institute of Advanced Motorists) did a national survey showing differences between the parties to transport issues- you can see a report here.
One UKIP candidate's attitude to cycling in Cambridge is reported on here.

 STACC wrote to all 47 candidates for the county council elections in the St Albans District to ask them whether, if elected, they would support measures to increase cycling based on the manifesto supported by The Times newspaper. They were also sent a copy of The Times Manifesto together with a copy of the Mayor of London’s proposals for ‘mini-Hollands” in selected London suburbs.

There are 10 seats. Conservatives, Lib-Dems, Labour and Greens have candidates in all 10 seats and UKIP have candidates in 7 seats. We have had replies from 5 Conservative, 5 Labour, 4 Greens, 3 UKIP and a single response from one Lib-Dem candidate on behalf of all 10 Lib-Dems. There were yes answers to most of the STACC questions from Lib-Dem, Labour , Green and 2 of the UKIP candidates. The 5 Conservatives whilst supportive of the general drift of the questions did not want to commit themselves at this stage.

Most responses were quite brief but Teresa Heritage (Con), Andrew Dixon (Lab) and Jill Mills (Green) gave more detailed responses to each question.

The answers to the specific questions were:

1. A requirement for lorries working for the county council (or its contractors) to be fitted with sensors, audible turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
Yes: Lib-Dems (all), Labour (all 5 who responded), Green (all 4 who responded ), UKIP (2 out of 3 ). Yes with reservations (the 1 Conservative who responded to the individual questions)

2. The 10 most dangerous road junctions for cyclists in the county to be identified, redesigned and/or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
Yes: Lib-Dems (all), Labour (5), Green (4), UKIP (2). Yes with reservations (1 Conservative)

3. Two per cent of the county council’s transport budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes.
General support from those who said yes to the previous questions but some queries as to whether 2% was the right figure and over what the transport budget covered.

4. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle training should become a core requirement for all drivers working for the county council (or its contractors).
Yes: Lib-Dems (all), Labour (all 5), Green (all 4), UKIP (2), Conservative (1).

5. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas on all roads where there are no national minimum standard cycle lanes.
Yes: Lib-Dems (all, but only “across most of St Albans”), Labour (3 yes plus 1 “where there is local support”), Green (4), UKIP (2). Yes with reservations (1 Conservative)
6. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways.
Yes: Lib-Dems (all), Labour (all 5 provided it was only suitable companies), Green (reservations about ethical credentials and free advertising), UKIP (2), Conservative (1)

7. The Mayor of London has published a “Vision for Cycling in London”. www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/roadusers/gla-mayors-cycle-vision-2013.pdf
Would you support a Vision for Cycling in Hertfordshire and a Vision for Cycling in St Albans District modelled on the Mayor’s proposals for ‘Mini-Hollands’ in the suburbs?
Yes: Lib-Dems (all), Labour (5), Green (4), UKIP (2).

Other general cycling-related comments or points not covered fully by responses to the individual questions.

Stocker UKIP Did not fully support the objectives of the questions and did not want edited extracts of his comments to be quoted.

Campbell Con As a keen cyclist (cycle to council mtgs and station, cycled LE to JOG, triathlete and family cyclist) I am keen and fully committed to cycling and cycle safety.”

Crawley Con I have supported plans for a joined up cycle route in our District throughout my time as a Councillor. Trying to overcome financial restraints has been a problem but I've always agreed with the plans in principle.”
Featherstone Con I am a cyclist myself so obviously support extra routes and safety issues. As I am in no position to openly say how the County should spend their money at the moment I will reserve my opinions.”
Heritage Con “It is important that cycling is looked at in the round with other road users.
A ‘mini Holland’ scheme would be great but again resourcing is very difficult and I believe all that HCC and St Albans are delivering is about right at this time.”
Smith Lab “One of my top priorities is road safety, which does of course include the safety of cyclists.”
Walkington Lib-Dem “Some of your questions don't lend themselves well to Yes/No answers but I whole-heartedly agree with the direction of travel.”
Mills Green I am absolutely committed to bikes as the best form of transport,”

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