DfT funds plans to increase bicycle use

The raft of measures - including an amendment to the Traffic Management Bill giving local authorities the power to fine cars blocking or driving on cycle lanes - was announced by transport minister Dr Kim Howells ahead of today's Parliamentary bike ride, staged annually during Bike Week.
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The measures form part of 'Walking & Cycling: an Action Plan', which aims to promote using two feet and two wheels as healthy and convenient ways to travel.

The measures include:

* A programme of new links to extend the National Cycle Network to hundreds of schools;

* An investment of more than £500,000 to upgrade cycle provision at 200 rail stations;

* Improved promotion of walking and cycling both locally and nationally, including a new web portal on everything cycling, an initiative produced in conjunction with the Bike Hub industry levy scheme.

* Better training in child pedestrian and cycling skills, including a new National Standard for Child Cycle Training;

* Improved training for local authority transport staff in providing for, and promoting, walking and cycling.

* An amendment to the Traffic Management Bill, to make cycling safer in towns and cities;

Kim Howells, a GT riding roadie, said:

"I am delighted that we have been able to bring forward measures which will make cycling and walking easier, safer and more attractive. Walking and cycling offer tremendous health, transport and social benefits, as well as

being enjoyable means of getting around. We want more people to choose to walk and cycle more often.

"The action plan, with more than 40 practical actions from across and beyond government, is evidence of our commitment to walking and cycling. It will help to provide an environment in which walking and cycling are viable,

enjoyable and safe.

"The amendment to the Traffic Management Bill will help to ensure that cycle and walking routes and crossings are kept free for cyclists and walkers to enjoy.

"Many children would rather walk or cycle to school than be driven and we need to provide the routes to make walking and cycling a more attractive option for both children and parents.

"And cycling to the station is a great option for many commuters, if the facilities are right. The experience is that providing more and better bike parking facilities at stations stimulates more cycling."

The Traffic Management Bill amendment will provide local authorities with a power to impose penalty charges when vehicles are driven in lanes reserved for cyclists and when pedestrian and cycle crossings are blocked by parked vehicles. These are not new offences: police already have the power to enforce these offences, but this amendment would extend those powers to local authorities.

The DfT intends to introduce this new power next year. Guidance will be issued for local authorities enforcement officers in advance of the introduction of the new powers.

The joint DfT/Bike Hub web portal is due for a full launch in three weeks. A holding page is online now at http://www.bikeforall.net and is capturing email addresses.

Carlton Reid, editor and publisher of BikeBiz.com, was appointed editor for Bikeforall.net last week.

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