Government shifts cycling up a gear
On 12 August the prime minister announced what is being described as “the biggest ever single injection of cash” for cycling, alongside plans to make roads safer for those on two wheels.
£77 million will be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich, while the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor will each share a slice of £17 million funding for national parks.
With local contributions, the total new funding for cycling is £148 million between now and 2015.
The announcement includes a commitment from the Government to cut red tape that can stifle cycle-friendly road design, and to encourage changes to the way roads are built or altered. The Government expects councils to “up their game” to deliver infrastructure that takes cycling into account from the design stage.
Prime minister David Cameron said: “Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar. Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists.
“This Government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up and business, local Government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this.”
The Government says that new trunk road schemes that have a significant impact on cyclists, such as junction improvements or road-widening, will be ‘cycle-proofed’ so they can be navigated confidently by the average cyclist.
This commitment to improved cycling facilities is intended to put Britain on a level footing with countries where there are higher levels of cycling, such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, said: “We have seen a significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the last few years. But cycling shouldn’t be confined to the capital.
“This announcement shows we are absolutely committed to boosting cycling in cities and the countryside across the whole of England. I want to help open up cycling to more people and these measures to make cycling safer on our roads are an important part of that.”
The Government says that it has already made it easier for local authorities in England to help cyclists through measures including removing bureaucracy to introduce 20 mph speed restrictions.
All of the cities receiving funding have either already implemented, or are looking to expand, their network of 20 mph zones through the cycle ambition funding. The Government has undertaken similar work to make it easier for councils to introduce 40 mph limits in rural areas.
The Government is also encouraging the use of ‘Trixi’ mirrors at junctions so that HGV drivers can see cyclists more easily, and contraflow measures so that cyclists can use one-way streets to avoid the busiest roads and junctions.
Additionally, the Government is currently working with highway authorities to trial a raft of measures to improve roads for cyclists. These include mini signals at cyclists’ eye height; roundabout redesign; and making it easier for councils to install mandatory cycle lanes and contraflow cycle lanes.
Click here to read the full Government news release.