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MP pledges to shake off 'cranky' image of cyclists

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THE GOVERNMENT'S failure to encourage cycling in the UKwas highlighted this week by a Labour MP at an ICE meeting on development of the national cycling network.

Chairman of the all party parliamentary cycling group and MP for Exeter South West Ben Bradshaw promised to put more pressure on the Government to boost cycling - currently rooted at 2% of all journeys made in the UK.

In his presentation, Bradshaw criticised the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions for viewing cyclists as 'cranky'. He said it had to do more to deliver a target of 8% of all journeys by cycle by 2004.

'All too often what we are getting from the Government is a nanny-ish approach of encouraging cyclists to make themselves safer,' he said. 'I don't think we should kid ourselves. Cyclists are killed by cars, lorries and bad road design.'

He promised to launch a campaign to extend cycle lanesto where they are most needed and to ensure that their use is properly enforced. 'Enforcement is something I will raise with ministers,' he said. 'We need to do something about the scandal of illegal parking on cycle lanes.'

Bradshaw added that he would also be urging for reform of local transport plans under which local authorities bid for local transport schemes, to ensure that more cycling schemes are included. He said: 'There are many examples where LTPs are not working as they should because DETR is approving bids for the wrong kind of things.'

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