In point of fact cycling is NOT particularly dangerous - the casualty rate is comparable with walking and other forms of transport. The impression of danger is off-putting however. I have just come back from shopping and had cars squeezing past by road works. ( To some extent my fault for not taking the lane - I was about to turn left ).
I am a little worried by excessive localism - some bicycle paths have been stymied by nimby objectors and if a bike lane results in loss of car parking there is hysteria afoot.
If 20 mph is not mandated nationally traders will lobby local councils about loss of competitiveness.
To increase cycling you need to improve protection for cyclists. In Holland cyclists have right of way over cars and other road users, and if they get hit then the law usually sides with the rider. Until this happens in the UK a large majority of people will always consider it too dangerous to commute by bike or cycle in cities.
As a one off tax Vehicle Excise Duty does very little to deter vehicle use so I'd much rather see all the tax being levied on fuel, congestion charges and drivers - the more you drive, the more you pay. There's a lot of backlash against cyclists when motorists claim they don't pay road tax and shouldn't be on the roads so it would also help to do away with road tax entirely and focus all taxes on vehicles and drivers. Removing the money spent administering the system and trying to prosecute those who don't pay would also save millions not to mention the lost revenue from people avoiding the tax.
You could also reduce the number of drivers allowed to drive by ensuring that people have to re-sit their tests regularly to renew their licenses. It's always been argued that this would disproportionately impact on the elderly and low income groups but at least by making people re-sit their tests regularly you're increasing the standard of driving and removing dangerous drivers. Reducing the number of points needed to incur a ban would also decrease the number of drivers and encourage safer driving. A side effect of all this could be fewer accidents and lower insurance premiums...or am I dreaming?
I realise that these policies might be a little controversial but I'm just trying to get the conversation started!