UK urged to improve cycling infrastructure to fight coronavirus

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Cycling industry leaders have called on the UK government to improve cycling infrastructure to help citizens meet social distancing guidelines and allow more people to cycle to work after the lockdown ends.

Will Butler-Adams, CEO of Brompton Bicycle, wrote a letter to MP Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State responsible for Cycling and Walking, which was co-signed by British Cycling, Cycling UK, the London Cycling Campaign and Dr Ian Basnett, director of public health at Barts Health NHS Trust.

The letter calls on Heaton-Harris to encourage “local road authorities to consider implementing temporary cycling and walking initiatives” as they argue that many streets in the UK “are currently unsuitable for use during the pandemic “.

Butler-Adams says temporary cycling infrastructure has already been successfully deployed in New Zealand as well as in a number of cities in the United States, Canada and Germany. The number of key workers who currently choose to cycle or walk to work to avoid public transport, where the risk of coronavirus transmission is higher, is increasing, a trend that could be reflected by the whole of the population once the lockdown is relaxed.

>>> France offers each cyclist € 50 for bicycle repairs once the lockdown is complete

“We welcome the statement made yesterday by your department, specifying that local authorities have the power to take initiatives of this type using experimental traffic control orders and similar procedures. Our organizations invite you, however, to go further and provide a clear and positive ministerial statement encouraging road authorities to consider implementing temporary initiatives of this type, ”the letter said. “This would give local authorities the confidence to quickly implement measures, allowing safe cycling and walking within government guidelines for social distancing.

“From talking with colleagues in the NHS, we know that these measures would have a positive impact by encouraging more health workers to cycle to work and would have the added benefit of providing safe segregation or traffic protection. automobile.

“Finally, after the current lockdown restrictions, a large part of the UK population will move to cities again, but will be reluctant to use public transport where the risk of transmission is higher. In order to mitigate an influx of second wave of Coronavirus cases, we believe it is prudent to plan ahead and implement these temporary measures now for key workers, but also to allow the population at large to travel by bicycle or by bicycle. short-term foothold as lockout restrictions are lifted.

“We call on you to promptly and publicly encourage local authorities to support these initiatives. In this way, we can quickly enable the active movement of our NHS heroes and key workers who are helping the country through this crisis.”

France has offered all cyclists € 50 for bicycle repairs, as the country tries to keep air pollution levels low after their lockdown is over, while a $ 300million program euros will create nine protected cycle highways linking the center of Paris to the main suburbs. It will bring the current 370 km of cycle paths to 650 km.


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