Government pledge gives English towns less than 5 miles of cycling infrastructure each

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A new government pledge to provide cycling infrastructure for all of England would give the country’s 51 areas the status of towns of less than five miles of lane each if they are divided equally (and that is before they are not distributed in towns and villages.)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced £ 350million specifically for cycling, much of which would go towards creating 250 miles of separate cycle paths in England. The cost per kilometer of separate cycling infrastructure is around £ 1.45million.

Bundled together in a £ 5bn ad to boost bus use, cycling‘s pledged figure equates to just over £ 1 per person, per year during the Tory government’s five-year tenure ahead of us, which is a similar expense to the previous government. term.

For the context of the transport budget, it is true that the Prime Minister “controversial” plans to proceed with the HS2 rail line will see an expenditure of £ 978 per head at the lowest estimate (£ 66bn) and £ 1,595 per head at the highest estimate (£ 106bn) .

The reaction both inside cycle trade and even in parliament has been mixed, with some welcoming at least some progress and others calling for an overhaul. Many have pointed out what appears to be an open goal for government to produce positive externalities; The cost-benefit ratio of cycling has always been found to be the highest in terms of transportation, providing health benefits, pollution, traffic jams and much more.

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath called the government’s announcement “a complete joke”, adding: “Announcing 250 miles of new cycle paths as a big investment in green infrastructure is a complete joke . That will only mean a few extra miles per local authority, and we cyclists know what they look like.

“So if he agrees that we need a lot more continuous cycle paths, how can he begin to explain how 250 miles across the country will cut him down?” “

Cycling UK reacted in the same way, pointing out that the national commitment is only a fraction of the 1,800 mile ambition defined in Manchester alone.

Paul Tuohy, Managing Director of Cycling UK, said: ‘Cycling UK is extremely disappointed to find that out of a £ 5bn fund for’ buses and bikes’ there is only £ 350m for cycling.

“250 miles of separate cycle paths across England are a drop in the ocean, especially when Manchester provides over 1,800 miles of lanes.

“Better cycling infrastructure will meet the Prime Minister’s ambition to transform towns and cities, making them happier, healthier and cleaner places to live and work, but without an immediate commitment of at least 6 billion pounds over the next five years, we will never get there. vision.”

The ad spoke of the creation of “Mini Holland projects, which are modeled on Dutch streets that are made safer for people to move around and play on the streets, with restricted or idle motor vehicle access.”

A bigger bright spot to take from the announcement was the long overdue commitment to create design standards from which the UK can work. “All new routes will be built to strict new design standards,” the DfT announcement read.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said of the announcement: “Our long-term commitment to cycling couldn’t be clearer, with money for new routes, more support for cyclists and new programs. “Mini-Holland”, intended to make our streets as safe as they have been for cyclists.

The money is now to be distributed to towns and cities that offer “well-developed plans for cycling and walking networks, such as those defined in local infrastructure plans for cycling and walking”.

Following the funding announcement, it appears that a pre-election pledge to provide all children in England with cycling education is being honored.

More than 200 independent bike shops recently told Cycling Industry.News as part of our annual market research that safe cycling infrastructure is essential to revitalize their retail business. 80% identified the development of safe cycling infrastructure as their number one priority. Those wishing to access the study in its entirety can now purchase the results here.


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