What the Government is describing as “the biggest single investment in cycling” was unveiled last week by Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, to “help make it easier and safer to get on your bike in the UK”.
In July, Nick Clegg said he wanted to see the number of journeys made by bike more than doubled by 2020. Today, at a cycling summit in Bristol, he will unveil a package of measures totalling £214m.
£114m will be used to support the Cycling Ambition Cities Programme (Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Oxford) for the next three years. The money will be used to futher develop local cycling networks and improve protection for cyclists at junctions and traffic hot spots.
£100m will be used to improve the conditions for cyclists and walkers travelling alongside and crossing Britain’s strategic road network.
This latest funding brings the current Government’s total investment in cycling to £588m.
Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister, said: “I want to bring cycling down from the Alps and onto British streets. The inspiration and legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire this year has started a revolution in cycling for everyone, not just in velodromes, not necessarily in lycra, but for going to school or to work or to the shops.
“I’m committed to helping our dream of becoming a cycling nation, similar to places like Denmark and the Netherlands, become a reality.
“The rewards could be massive. Billions of pounds in savings for the NHS, less pollution and congestion, and a happier and safer population.
“In Government, we’re putting the money down: now we need the public and local authorities to jump on their bikes and get us to the finish line.
On top of the investment, Nick Clegg is also launching two new initiatives designed to help inspire a new generation of cyclists.
The first is a new scheme from Halfords under which bikes and helmets will be reconditioned and donated to primary school children in disadvantaged areas of the eight current cycling cities (listed above).
The second is a new pilot scheme to enhance the Bikeability cycle training programme to provide extra training to schools and parents, each designed to address a specific barrier to cycling.
Chris Boardman MBE, Olympic gold medallist and British Cycling policy advisor, said: “This is a great stepping stone on the road to creating a safer environment and enabling more Brits to choose cycling as their preferred mode of transport.
“The new funds are fantastic for the eight cycling cities, giving them more security to plan for the next three years, and I thoroughly welcome the announcement.
“If we want to a cycling revolution, something I truly believe we can achieve, we have to invest in it, commit to it long term.
“The next step is to make investment like this one a permanent, embedded and an ongoing part of our transport strategy. If we do, then the benefits for our nation’s health, wealth and environment will be monumental.”