The Government has announced that it will invest £214m towards helping people ‘get on their bikes’ in the UK.
The investment has been described by the Government as the biggest single investment in cycling and is aimed at increasing the number of journeys being made by bicycle as opposed to other methods of transport.
Cycling enjoyed a boom in popularity following 2012 and Bradley Wiggins’ success in the Tour de France and the later successes at the London Olympics and since then the number of people using bicycles has increased.
What this has done is lead people to raise important issues in regards to how safe cycling on the UK’s roads and what can be done to further increase the number of people taking up cycling as a way of getting around.
Back in July, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said that by 2020 he wanted to see the number of journey’s made by bicycle doubled and this is certainly backed up by the announcement this week.
So what will happen to this rather large sum of money? Where will it be invested?
£114m will be put towards supporting the Cycling Ambition Cities Program, which is championed across the UK in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Oxford currently.
Here the money will be used to improve the local cycling networks, as well as improve and increase the level of protection that cyclists are afforded at junctions and traffic hotspots.
Overall the Government’s investment in cycling has risen to £588m and Nick Clegg furthered his commitment towards the cause and the dream of making the UK a cycling nation.
He 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 have 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 of 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.”
Mr Clegg’s announcement has received praise from the cycling community, lead by none other than Olympic Gold Medalist, Chris Boardman, who holds the role of British Cycling Policy Advisor for the Government.
Talking about the news, he 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 announcements.”
“If we want to have 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 investments like this once 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.”
Perhaps on a par with the importance of the investment came the news of two other schemes that Nick Clegg is set to introduce.
The first of these is to recondition bikes and helmets and donate them to primary schools where the children are in disadvantaged areas of the cycling cities. They will do this with the support of Halfords.
Secondly a new pilot scheme is set to be launched to enhance the Bikeability cycling training programme, whereby schools and parents will be provided with extra training. This is designed to tackle a specific barrier to cycling.
Obviously, as road users, cyclists are one of the most vulnerable, so schemes and investment such as these will go a long way in helping to improve the safety of cyclists in the UK and drive down the number of accidents involving cyclists.
Scott Rees and Co can offer expert legal advice and representation to any cyclist injured on the road through no fault of their own.
1. Pexels; PhotoMix Ltd; https://www.pexels.com/photo/action-activity-adults-bicycles-172484/