Cycle advocate speaks at House of Commons

Katja Leyendecker spoke to MPs at the House of Commons as a witness to the Transport Select committee.

Katja Leyendecker, chair of the group, says “It’s been both a nerve-racking and exhilarating experience. I think I got my point across, that the real debate is about better cities, and we have to start taking cycling seriously as a cornerstone of a liveable and resilient city. We must end its silent absence and build cycleways. And I seem to have found a convert and ally in one MP too, who said it was good that I kept the session on track.”

Here’s what Katja said.

“I think the question might be a completely different one and not so much about safety at all. I think it is about the future of our cities and how we want to run our cities. We were talking – beforehands – about education and enforcement and I think we have done that. We have done that in London and we have done that outside London. And it is actually the engineering bit that is missing. It has been done in bit and pieces, but not in a continuous, and certainly not in a holistic, look at the City or at the city of Newcastle for example.

“Of course, we as humans react in a certain kind of way and there are a lot of subliminal messages that you get as a drivers, as a cyclist, as someone who is walking in London or Newcastle or anywhere else. They way it’s been tackled elsewhere is to take that human behaviour into account, and therefore have something which you could almost call forgiving design. So that behaviour that might be that cyclists wobbling about that’s what cyclists do when they start and therefore you’d need a certain kind of lane width or path width. There is actually a lot of Rosa Parks, I would say, stuff going on that cyclists do. We talked before about cyclists going through red lights. There is certain countries, the cycle-friendly ones, who have started to design those things in. Where you have got a permanent green left, or on the continent it would be a right arrow, for cyclists. Where people have observed cyclists and have then found why cyclists do these things and actually allowed for it in the road design – which might be cycle lanes, cycleways, but it also has to be our junctions, they way our traffic lights are phased and all the wider picture around that. But the very started point is the human being and we are making mistakes. Every one of us. It’s just when one person makes a mistake sitting in a car or even a lorry that mistake costs so much more.”

= = = CONTACT = = =
Contact us

Oral evidence transcript

Transport Committee hearing 2 Dec 2013