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Create ‘a legacy of every-day cycling’, Olympians tell Prime Minister

Thursday 1st September 2016

A host of famous cyclists are calling on the Government to devote 5% of its transport spend to cycling infrastructure and to set targets to improve road maintenance.

In a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, the successful Olympians ask her to create ‘a legacy of every-day cycling in this country’ and ‘a place where cycling is the choice form of transport for people to get around in their daily lives’.

Alongside Sir Chris Hoy and Chris Boardman, the letter is signed by a number of Rio 2016 cyclists including Olympic champions Laura Trott, Jason Kenny and Owain Doull. They say “this would be the best way to honour” their achievements.

The letter, which is available to read online, goes on to say: “Investment in cycling as a form of transport isn’t purely an investment in cycle lanes. It is an investment that will pay off for the nation’s health, wealth, transport infrastructure and the vibrancy of our towns and cities. It has the added benefit of just making it easier for ordinary families to get to work and get to school.”

The 2014 National Travel Survey shows that just 2% of all trips are made by bicycle, covering 1% of distance travelled. The average person travels 58 miles on a bicycle per year.

The letter is published alongside a You Gov survey, commissioned by British Cycling, which shows that almost 60% of parents would be uncomfortable with their children cycling to school on a regular basis.

The survey, released today (1 Sept) also shows that just 2% of school-age children cycle to school in Britain, compared with 50% in the Netherlands.

Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy adviser, said: “Britain is the best elite cycling nation in the world – we’ve proved it at three successive Olympic Games – and yet we’re still massively lagging behind other nations in terms of every-day cycling.

"How can it be right that we have so many Olympic champions but less than 2% of Brits cycle regularly? We know why people aren’t cycling. The fact is that most will only ride a bike if they are separated from traffic on convenient, well-maintained routes.

“The ground work has been laid in that the government now legally has to come up with an investment strategy. But let’s see that published with a meaningful amount of money behind it.

“Under current proposals, investment will decline to less than £1 per head by the end of this parliament. This is a pitiful amount when you consider the £28 per head that is spent in the Netherlands on cycling.”

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