Investment in cycling needs to increase tenfold to more than £1bn a year and the UK government should set a target that 25 per cent of all journeys should be made by bike by 2050.
Those were the ambitious key recommendations in the long-awaited Get Britain Cycling Summary report, published today by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, which also called for a national cycling champion to be installed in central government to promote cycling across all departments.
The report has been welcomed by cycling campaign groups who said it was time for Prime Minister David Cameron to “fire the starting-gun for action across Whitehall and across the country to Get Britain Cycling.”
The report was based on evidence from more than 100 stakeholders and experts who appeared Get Britain Cycling evidence sessions held over the spring.
The APPCG says the recommendations in their report will improve public health, make roads safer and create better environments in towns and cities. Other recommendations include rules to ensure cyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs are considered early on in new planning schemes, the expansion of 20mph speed limits on urban streets and 40mph on rural lanes.
As HGVs are involved in a disproportionate number of serious cycling collisions, lorry safety needs to be bettered through vehicle design, driver training and restricting their movements on busy streets during rush hour.
Cycle training should be provided at all primary and secondary schools too, recommended the report.
Sustrans and CTC both said the challenge now was to make government leaders adopt the recommendations.
“It echoes calls for significant expenditure, for leadership, for cross-departmental action. Now the challenge is on to get both [Prime Minister] David Cameron and [Chancellor] George Osborne to act.”
10 times the investment required
The report proposes that investment for cycling should be increased from around £2 a head to £10 in regions outside London – or about £550m on current population estimates.
This should be increased again to £20 per head as cycling’s popularity increases – a figure which is still less than Holland’s expenditure of around £24 per head. Despite being a huge increase in UK cycling investment during a period of economic austerity, Geffen said the proposed funding was “small beer”.
“We only need to drop about 10 road schemes,” he said. “It’s peanuts compared with the High Speed Rail Link or Cross Rail. There are huge sums of money going through the Transport budget and even the Highways Agency budget. This is actually relatively small beer.”
Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and co-chair of the APPCG said: “This generation of politicians has the chance to be long remembered for having a vision for cycling that includes us all. Put simply, Britain needs to re-learn how to cycle. This report sets out how this can be done.”
Norman Baker, Local Transport Minister at the Department for Transport which could play a central role in implementing the report recommendations said: “We are grateful to the APPCG for raising the profile of cycling and we will respond to this report shortly. I am setting up a project team involving stakeholders and representatives from other Whitehall departments to set out how we would work together to get more people cycling.”
A formal launch of the report will be held later today.