The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport says he understands cyclists’ frustrations
Cycling enthusiasts quizzed Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, about the issues affecting cyclists in Merton on Thursday evening.
Mr Hammond, who is also Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, addressed concerns about rising accident rates, misuse of cycling funding and unsafe HGV driving at the Merton Cycling Campaign (MCC) meeting in Wimbledon.
Mr Hammond acknowledged that the government’s record protecting vulnerable road users was not good enough and that he is keen to see more stringent safety education for HGV drivers as well as increased responsibility for road cycling policy given to Transport for London.
The Conservative Party MP admitted that he understands cyclists’ frustration with the current situation and feels that the meeting was beneficial for both sides.
“One of the problems is lots of money is being spent but some of the things they want to see aren’t being delivered fast enough,” said Mr Hammond.
“It gave people a chance to tell me things I didn’t know and I answered as many of their questions as I could.
“I happen to be a transport minister so I do take a very big interest in cycling and making the roads safer is the key point.
“One of the things we need to do is make sure that local people get the chance to influence some of the schemes in local areas because they know what are more likely to be the local hotspots and areas.”
In 2012, 118 cyclists were killed on UK roads with almost 19,000 more being injured.
On a day when a male cyclist was killed at Ludgate Circus junction on Fleet Street, Mr Hammond stressed the importance of educating people about cycling and making them aware of the consequences of their choices.
He also cited the £300million programme to overhaul 33 London road junctions as proof of the government’s commitment to improving conditions for cyclists.
MCC co-ordinator Charles Barraball, 71, says that while not every issue was addressed, he is hopeful that the meeting can be the start of a closer understanding by Mr Hammond of the highways issues affecting people who might or do cycle to work, local shops and schools.
He said: “We could’ve talked for hours but I think people had an opportunity to exchange views.”
The Merton Cycling Campaign meet at 8pm on the first Thursday of every month at the All Saints Centre, Wimbledon. More information can be found at http://www.mertoncyclists.org.uk/
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