UK launches major cycling policy shift with £2bn investment

UK launches major cycling policy shift with £2bn investment

Thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for everyone and bikes available on prescription will be rolled out under new plans to overhaul cycling and walking in England launched by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July.

The new plan aims to build on the significant increase in the number of people cycling during the pandemic. It sets out a long term vision to increase active travel and “embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how we live, work and get around”.

To encourage people to continue to take up cycling, the government says cycle training will be made available for every child and adult who wants it, accessible through schools, local authorities or direct from cycle training schemes.

So that more people can make cycling part of their commute or daily routine, more cycle racks will be installed at transport hubs, town and city centres and public buildings, and funding will go towards new bike hangars and on street storage for people who don’t have space to keep a bike at home.

The commitments in the plan will be funded by £2bn announced earlier this year for walking and cycling, and also include:

  • Transforming infrastructure through building thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities; setting higher standards for cycling infrastructure, to be overseen by a new inspectorate; and improving the National Cycle Network;
  • Making streets safer by consulting to strengthen the Highway Code to better protect pedestrians and cyclists; improving legal protections for vulnerable road users and raising safety standards on lorries.

New, higher standards for cycling infrastructure have also been published, in order to make sure that schemes are better designed around cyclists’ needs and to make sure they can support a larger number of cyclists in the future. These higher standards will make clear that schemes which consist mainly of paint, which make pedestrians and cyclists share the same space, or which do not make meaningful change to the status quo on the road, will not be funded. These standards will be overseen by a new inspectorate, Active Travel England, which will be responsible for the cycling budget and help make sure schemes are compliant with the new standards.

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