Dear Robert Goodwill MP
We were alarmed when we heard about the remark you made concerning helmet hair at the APPCG organised parliamentary debate, held on Monday 23 May. The debate was about the draft CWIS to which we have submitted our reply. Reading the CWIS draft document, we knew then, that things weren’t attended to properly at the DfT. We now see just how shallow your depth of understanding really runs. You are paraphrased by the AAPCG twitter account to have contributed to the debate the following:
“Robert Goodwill says he will consider KPIs but we need to know why women don’t want to cycle to work. His wife says a helmet spoils her hair.”
We would like to take the opportunity to express our deep disappointment with regards to your ignorance on this important subject. There is, in fact, a wealth of evidence about the barriers that prevent women cycling (recently compiled for you by our partner, the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain). We don’t think we need more evidence.
We expect our Cycling Minister to be better informed and more knowledgeable and use research as evidence rather than anecdotes. If you would like to embark on a journey of enlightenment you need to start with the basics,
It is the way we design our towns and cities which prevents, not only women, but also most men, children and the elderly from cycling, Mixing with motorised traffic is awful. We will see a much more diverse cross section of the community “on the saddle” – people of all age and abilities- when we start designing streets, neighbourhoods and cities for walking and cycling. And many more women, of course.
Our chair spoke to select committee in 2013 and talked about the importance of sustainable safety and road design then, as did the other attendees. She also wrote a heart-felt personal response which we fully support.
In 2014, together with other city cycling campaigns, we wrote to you and made a number of recommendations (yet to be addressed). We urged you to progress national standards for cycling infrastructure and confirm that capacity for private motor‐traffic should not be prioritised at the expense of safe, direct and attractive opportunities for walking, cycling and public transport.
Build it and they will come. Do it for your wife because she is, and all of us other women are, worth it.
We would be happy to meet with you to discuss this further.