Cyclist and Palace of Westminster (copyright Simon MacMichael)

A Parliamentary cycling debate, held yesterday, has reached a record 2.1 million people via social media

The Westminster Hall debate on government funding for cycling attracted a number of MPs described as “unfamiliar faces” in cycling debates, as well as reaching more than 2.1m Twitter accounts, the highest number ever for a digital debate, according to Conservative MP Chris Green.

Campaigners say this sends a “clear message” to government that people want to cycle, and more investment is needed to tackle safety concerns. Among issues raised were the need for design standards to avoid more “unusable” bike lanes, as well as the importance of getting more women, and more black and ethnic minority groups, cycling.

In response to the debate Martin Key, British Cycling’s campaigns manager, said: “Today’s Westminster Hall debate on government investment in cycling illustrated how much progress has been made in recent years.

“Cycling didn’t have much political attention in the past and rare debates like these would be poorly attended and often missed the point.  Today, we have MPs from all parties and all across the UK representing the very real concerns of their constituents and British Cycling’s 117,000 members – namely that the vast majority of people actively want to use their bikes more often, but are put off by concerns about safety.

“A clear message was sent to government today that more investment is needed in segregated infrastructure to make our roads and junctions safer.  Does this amount to the kind of political will to deliver the ‘cycling revolution’ promised by the Prime Minister?  No.  Is it a step forward?  Yes.  We will keep the pressure on.”

Conservative MP, Chris Green, who secured the debate, said: “If a cycle lane is unusable, is it really a cycle lane? We often see overhanging branches, impassable potholes, large puddles, parked cars and poor-quality surfaces, which are especially noticeable for those on racers. I have a racer, and I cannot use some cycle lanes.”

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