About 30 people came to Sidings Community Centre to hear what prospective parliamentary candidates in Hampstead & Kilburn, Brent Central and Brent North had to say. There was a surprising degree of agreement among the candidates, or maybe it would be more surprising if any of them had come to a meeting organised by local cycling groups and then ridiculed the activity! While there were not many explicit differences in terms of policy, none of them seemed able to envisage the ‘mass cycling’ revolution that we all hope for. The hustings was chaired by Rosie Downes of LCC shown speaking in the photo below.
Here are a few highlights:
In response to questions from the floor, various candidates mentioned that more cycle parking and cycle storage was needed on street and at work, that school bus companies should be used to reduce the school run by individual car-driving families, that it was important to continue to monitor air quality and that the police should be made to enforce road safety.
Some preferred ‘nudge’ tactics rather that punishment for car users but failed to offer convincing ways to entice people to leave their cars.
There was a passing reference to electric cars, but no-one regarded this as a panacea; and there was no mention of inclusive cycling or the issue of presumed liability for civil cases where accidents between different kinds of road users are involved. And we clearly need to educate local politicians about the value of the ‘pedestrian pound’ and the fact that closing shopping streets to cars is good for business.
Photos: Geoff Stilwell