Local election candidates vote for cycling!
Love Your Bike and Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign (GMCC) have today released the results of a ‘cycling issues’ survey that was sent to local council candidates in every ward across Greater Manchester . The survey asked candidates their views on a range of policies that could help increase cycling levels in Greater Manchester. The cycling groups are encouraging people to ‘vote for cycling’ when deciding who to support in the local elections on May 6th.
Top of the poll for the proportion of candidates replying were the Green Party (41%) followed by the Liberal Democrats (15.9%), Labour Party (10.5%) and Conservative Party (2.9%). The highest turnout figures from candidates were in Trafford (24.7%), Manchester (23.4%) and Stockport (20.3%). The lowest turnout was in Oldham (1.3%).
The survey results were:
How often do you cycle?
Whilst 45% of the respondents ‘never’ cycled it was encouraging to find that 13.6% cycled ‘once a week’ and 21% of respondents cycled ‘more than 3 times a week’. According to figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) around 32% of adults in the North West own a bicycle, but only 1% regularly cycle . The survey results indicate that local election candidates in Greater Manchester cycle more often than the average person in the North West.
Do you support the introduction of 20mph speed limits in all residential areas?
Over 90% of the local council election candidates who responded supported the 20mph speed limit in residential areas.  There were high levels of support from most political parties: Green (97%), Liberal Democrat (96.6%) and Labour (86.9%). The majority of the Conservative Party candidates (60%) also supported this policy.
Would you support your local council providing free adult cycle training?
Of the local council election candidates who responded, over 90% supported local councils providing free adult cycle training. With high levels of support from most political parties: Green (97%), Liberal Democrat (93%) and Labour (91%). Only 33% of Conservative candidates supported this idea.
Do you think that people should be able to travel with bicycles on Metrolink during off-peak travel times?
Potentially a ‘hot potato’ issue for local council election candidates given the recent decisions by the Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) regarding bicycle carriage on Metrolink trams. The results indicated support for cycle carriage on off-peak trams across all political parties and Council areas: Green (100%), Labour (95.2%), Liberal Democrat (86.2%) and Conservative (66.7%).
Dr Graeme Sherriff from the Love Your Bike campaign said:
“Over the next 10 years all Greater Manchester councils will need to meet many challenges such as obesity, congestion, air quality, rising transport costs and reducing CO2 emissions. Cycling can help people save on travel costs, become healthier and reduce obesity, as well as helping to tackle congestion, reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions.”
A more detailed report of the local election candidate responses is available at www.loveyourbike.org
Notes to Editors
a) How often do you cycle?
b) Do you support the introduction of 20mph speed limits in all residential areas such as the “20s Plenty for us” schemes as introduced in Portsmouth, Newcastle, Oxford, Warrington and Wirral?
c) Would you support your local council providing free adult cycle training to people who live/work in your local authority area?
d) Do you think that people should be able to travel with bicycles on Metrolink during off-peak travel times?
e) What policies does your party have to encourage more people to cycle to work, school, shopping or for leisure purposes?
 Table 1.16 : Bicycle ownership by region of residence – GOR and country: 2006-2007, Department for Transport website
 Despite our best efforts to make the question as specific as possible, some respondents did not necessarily understand the difference between the 20mph zones (as currently operated in Greater Manchester) and a Portsmouth-style 20mph speed limit. They answered “yes” to the question but their ‘other’ comments indicated they were often considering 20mph school zone style schemes.
 Love Your Bike is an award-winning campaign co-ordinated by Manchester Friends of the Earth. Based in Manchester, we aim to promote cycling and to help make it an attractive, accessible and fun way to get around. www.loveyourbike.org