Fourteen Olympic and Paralympic cycling stars are calling on local authorities across Britain to make a public commitment to improve conditions on the road for people on bikes.
British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman is leading the way with a letter to council leaders in his home region of the Wirral. A further 13 world champion cyclists, including Sir Chris Hoy, Dame Sarah Storey and Laura Trott have also today written to cities across Britain to ask them to choose cycling.
The Great Britain Cycling Team and Home Nation Teams are calling on local councils to implement the recommendations of British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling 10 point action plan, launched in Parliament in February.
The #ChooseCycling action plan sets out the actions that need to be taken to truly encourage hundreds of thousands more people to get around by bike.
British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “Britain is now one of the most successful cycling nations in the world but you wouldn’t know this from looking at the state of our nation’s roads and junctions. We’re getting it right on the world stage but the work that is being done at a local level is falling far short of the mark. If we truly want to convince the British public to choose cycling as their preferred form of transport and create healthier, more pleasant places to live, we need local leaders to make some radical changes and to be far more enterprising about how they are using their public spaces.”
Britain’s most successful ever Olympian, Sir Chris Hoy, added: “If we want to inspire a transformation in communities across Britain – making them happier and healthier – cycling needs to be prioritised. There has never been a better moment to do this and councils must make some bold decisions now before it’s too late. We desperately need Britain’s roads to accommodate the needs of cyclists to encourage people of all ages to get on bikes.”
The top three recommendations in British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling plan include:
- Accommodating cycling into the design of all new roads and junctions, known as ‘cycle-proofing;’;
- Meaningful and consistent levels of funding are required to make ‘cycle-proofing’ happen;
- Political leadership and measureable targets – as we’ve seen happen in London with Mayor Boris Johnson – are required to truly kick start a local transformation in the number of people getting on bikes.
Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s economy and transport board, said: “Councils continue to invest in cycling despite being hampered by deep funding cuts and will always look to introduce cycling provisions as part of new infrastructure when there is a clear need and demand. Many have already laid cycle paths on roads and in parks, installed bike racks in high streets, organised community cycle rides, supported town centre bike rental schemes and bike safety awareness campaigns.
“The government’s own traffic projections predict a potential increase in local traffic of more than 40 per cent by 2040 while the bill to bring our roads up to scratch has reached £12 billion and is growing with every harsh winter. Councils need increased and consistent investment in the widespread resurfacing projects we desperately need to improve road conditions for all road users, including cyclists. Councils outside London must also be handed greater powers to tackle moving traffic violations. This will help prevent drivers blocking cycle lanes and pulling up in cycle boxes at traffic lights which causes havoc on our roads and puts cyclists at risk.”
Recent Office of National Statistics data shows that an average of just 2.8% of people commuted by bike in 2011. This compares to 12% in York and 29% in South Cambridgeshire. These areas have consistently invested in cycle-friendly roads and junctions and are now reaping the benefits.