'There is massive untapped potential for local cycling journeys'; Updated with reaction from BikeRight!

Sustrans, CTC and British Cycling praise new £20m cycle investment

Cycle advocates have praised this morning’s announcement from Transport Minister Norman Baker that cycling infrastructure is to receive £20million investment.

Those advocates – Sustrans, British Cycling and the CTC – also stressed that the positive step should be the next in a long line of pro-cycling moves.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans welcomed the news and said that national and local government needs to do more to unlock the major potential of cycling.

Chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said: “There is massive untapped potential for local cycling journeys but many people are put off cycling by the safety fears on our road, so now is the time to put cycling at the heart of towns and cities across the country.

“This additional funding is welcome and will have a positive effect, but if the government wants to make a real difference and help us all get active everyday we need to see a raft of measures with ongoing funding across the country – it’s time to transform the way we travel and make cycling the norm.”

And in a joint statement from British Cycling and CTC, the pairing said: “British Cycling and CTC welcome the announcement of much-needed investment in cycling – it is encouraging to see funding being allocated to improve conditions on the road.

"We now need to see real leadership right across government to get Britain cycling. If cycling is put at the heart of transport policy – so that all decisions are made with cycling in mind – we can create a cycling nation to rival countries like Denmark.”

Cycle training organisation BikeRight! has now also responded to the news. MD Liz Clarke was in attendance at the Active Travel conference in Leicester, where the announcement was made. Clarke said: “Anything that improves the lot of the country’s cyclists is very welcome indeed. This £20 million funding needs to be spent wisely though, in the grand scheme of things it’s not a huge amount of money and infrastructure should be prioritised where it can have the greatest impact.”

"It’s going to be many years before significant Dutch style cycling infrastructure exists in the UK, we need a 30 year vision for cycling in the way that we have for other transport solutions. In the meantime, cyclists sharing the road with other users have options such as National Standards Cycle Training to help ensure their continued safety. As Wim Bot from the Dutch Cyclists Union stated last week here in the UK, ‘Mix if possible, separate if necessary’.”

BikeRight!’s strategy director Jo Somerset added: “It is nice to hear comments of support from both transport and health organisations. Public Health Minister Anna Soubry is quite right in recognising that this isn’t just a travel challenge. The benefits of increased cycling are many-fold; less congested roads, better air quality and improved health will have immeasurable impact on our society, likely paying back any investment many times over.”

BikeRight! trains around 20,000 individuals a year, operating in the likes of Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Stoke on Trent.

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