Bike lanes linking large employers such as hospitals and factories with residential areas and schools will become commonplace in Wales thanks to government legislation passed last night, say campaigners.
The Welsh Assembly voted to enact the Active Travel (Wales) Bill which will require councils to plan and build more good quality cycle lanes and make new roads safer for cyclists. It is hoped encouraging more people to walk and cycle will cut NHS bills associated with obesity-related illnesses.
Local authorities will also have a duty to promote cycling and walking and report regularly on the development of shared use paths, their use and costs.
Sustrans Cymru National Director Jane Lorimer said last night: "This is an historic day for Wales – change won’t come overnight, but the framework is now in place to make us a cycling nation."
There have been calls on Westminster politicians to adopt the Welsh lead. Labour shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said it was "vital" that England kept pace with Wales, reported The Times.
The Active Travel Bill is expected to come into force in 2014.