Cycling Tsar wants government cash to get more Brits on bikes

Philip Darnton, president of the Bicycle Association and chairman of the government-appointed National Cycling Strategy Board, told The Sunday Times more Britons could be encouraged to cycle to work if £150m was splashed annually on more priority traffic signals for cycliksts, there was a major extension of truly safe cycle lanes and there was a greater clampdown on speeding motorists.
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The Sunday Times reports that the National Cycling Strategy Board has submitted a "radical" report to the Department for Transport calling for government investment of £150 million a year in the scheme.

In the report, Darnton, the former chief executive of Raleigh, suggests plans to offer cyclists more road space and better protection from cars, said The Sunday Times.

“In 1996 the then government promised a sharp increase in cycling but nothing has happened. Only about 1.5 percent of journeys are by bike," Darnton told the newspaper.

"But we have got to get people out of their cars.”

The NCSB report will also recommend a permanent ban on cars using bus lanes to create more room for cyclists and an increase of 20mph zones to improve safety.

The changes would be supported by campaigns to urge workers to take up cycling, aimed at civil servants, health workers and students.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The government fully appreciates the value of cycling for improving health and reducing congestion and pollution.

“That is why we published ’Walking and cycling: an action plan’ in June. An announcement on the way forward will be made in due course.”

The Sunday Times said "the new proposals could anger motorists who perceive cyclists as “Lycra louts” who frequently jump red lights and flout other road laws."

Darnton doesn't disagree, but has a caveat:

“Some cyclists have a lot to answer for, but they behave like outlaws because the law is not catering for them. Most cyclists are young males who are a bit more aggressive. If we made roads friendlier we would get more women and a wider age range.”

The Sunday Times reports that the NCSB’s most important recommendation is the creation of a national funding scheme, with a single agency appointed to oversee the creation of urban cycle networks.

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