Manchester-based bike manufacturer Insync has welcomed Boris Johnson’s prediction that cycling will experience a ‘golden age’ once lockdown ends.
However, Cycling UK has said this will only be achievable through “significant investment” and a “change in transport investment priorities”.
“Replying to a question in the House of Commons, the prime minister said “there must be mitigations to help people who, for reason of social distancing, cannot use mass transit”, adding that ‘this should be a new golden age for cycling’,” said Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK head of campaigns.
“He’s right, it should be, but it won’t unless the Government provides the long-term investment needed to meet its own targets for cycling and walking and to decarbonise transport. That requires between £6 to £8 billion more in England over the next five years, a fraction of the staggering £27 billion road-building budget, which must surely now be reviewed.
“Cycling UK has urged the Government to act quickly to support local authorities widening pavements, installing pop-up cycling lanes and taking temporary measures that enable people to walk and cycle whilst maintaining social distancing as lockdown restrictions are eased. But transforming the way people travel, providing a realistic alternative to private car use or mass transit, and delivering a golden age of cycling, that requires radically increased investment in cycling and walking, and a change in transport investment priorities.”
Eddie Eccleston, Insync Bikes’ head of European Operations, said: “We are heartened to hear the prime minister’s prediction that the boom period the sport is experiencing will continue as the UK starts to rebuild itself. Insync has long championed cycling as a force for good and so we are delighted to have watched people of all ages embracing cycling during the last six weeks.
“Cycling is proven to boost the immune system and improve sensitivity to vaccines, as well as strengthening physical health. There are also huge benefits to mental wellbeing, which is a priority during such difficult times. We look forward to seeing the growth of cycling as a means of transport when more people begin to return to the workplace.”
With an increase in cycling expected, Insync has called on local authorities to do more to support safer cycling in towns and cities across the UK. In Greater Manchester, where Insync’s Hero Global Design Centre is based, plans for a £1.5 billion Bee Network include 1,800 miles of protected space across the city region, which are expected to lead to a 350% increase in cycling.
“It is encouraging to hear of the value local authorities are placing on cycling and we would urge others to go the extra mile to make it easier and safer for people of all ages to get into riding,” added Eccleston.
Insync said e-bikes will also have a role to play in getting more people commuting, giving the physical benefits of a regular bike but with an extra push to allow riders to arrive at work sweat-free and with more energy for the day ahead. The business is also backing a package of measures presented to the Government by the Bicycle Association, which include:
– Funding, guidance and leadership for local authorities so that they can make changes to their local roads to enable people to cycle safely from home to work and to other destinations such as high street shops. This includes extensive networks of ‘pop-up’ bike lanes, closing roads to through car traffic, and reallocation of road lanes to create space for cycling
– A zero VAT ‘holiday’ for all bikes, e-bikes, and cycle repairs
– A short-term £250 per bike purchase grant to promote e-bikes
– A £50 per customer voucher scheme for repairs
– Extending the Cycle to Work scheme
– Adult refresher cycle training across the country
– Funding and planning easements to help employers provide secure cycle parking for their workers