What’s Going On Here?
Downing Street has unlocked a full rack of measures that are promising to make cycling safer, more affordable, and more accessible to everyone (in England)!
From a free £50 ‘fix your bike’ voucher to giving residents the power to banish through-traffic from the streets. This week the government has gone cycling bonkers!
What Does This Mean?
Monday 27th July saw Boris Johnson share the plans behind the previously announced budget of £2 billion being made available for promoting active travel.
Residents will be:
- Given the chance to choose the fate of their side streets – from one-way streets to banning all motor traffic.
- Offered a £50 bike repair voucher (typically covering the bill for a standard service and the replacement of basic component such as an inner tubes)
- Offered free cycling training for those who want it
Wider plans involve the creation of a watchdog to ensure new cycle and walking routes are up to standard, overseen by Active Travel England. Their responsibilities include:
- Preventing councils from building substandard cycle lanes (refusing to fund paint-only bike lanes – without physical barriers or protection from cars – or routes where cyclists and pedestrians have to share space)
- Having the power to cut budgets in other areas for highways departments which fail to deliver on active transport.
Other plans on the table include:
- A pilot scheme for GPs to prescribe cycling to improve patients’ health
- Grants to help people with the cost of electric-assist bikes
- More secure cycle racks at stations and other transport hubs
Why Should We Care?
This really is the UK governments most ambitious active travel plan to date and Downing Streets’ effort to improve public health couldn’t be clearer. We think the Prime Minister himself has explained the importance of this one rather well…
“From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face.”Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Being handed the opportunity to shape our side streets has a David Cameron referendum feel about it! With great power comes great responsibility and so we ask that you engage with your neighbours and let them know about the benefits of active travel and pedestrianised streets. Here is your homework:
- Know your facts – Watch this hilarious 10min video by Jay Foreman as part of his unfinished London series – ‘Why drivers should want cycle lanes’
- Good for local business – A common perception is that banning cars is bad for business on the high street. A report by Living Streets in 2018 found that pedestrian improvements lead to more sales on the high street with one area of New York City reporting an increase in local retail sales of 48%.
- Claim your free £50 ‘fix your bike voucher’ HERE (The website crashed a few hours after launching but with the vouchers being released in batches, we are sure you will be back on the road very soon!)