The Department for Transport’s ‘Roads for the 21st Century’ plan may have been criticised for having only a weak mention of cycling within it, but British Cycling have a more ‘glass half full’ view on the report.
According to the organisation, the announcement is a victory for the sports governing body and its members, having been campaigning for ‘cycle-proofing’ – ensuring that cycling is designed into all new roads and junctions, integrated into all new transport schemes and all new roads policies.
Sustrans, however, was more critical. Policy adviser Allan Williams said: “The government seems to think that whatever the question, the answer is to build new roads. Privatising the Highway Agency continues to put cars and new roads at the centre of our transport policy, instead of looking at alternatives that encourage people to walk, cycle and take public transport. Rather than creating a whole bureaucracy dedicated to building roads, the government must have the foresight to invest in alternatives to car use, benefitting the economy and improving our health.”
British Cycling said that ‘with the Government committed to investing £28 billion in new roads and investments, now is the time to ensure that high quality, consistent cycling facilities are designed into all new roads and junctions.
Director of Legal and Policy Affairs Martin Gibbs commented: “We’re really pleased to see an acknowledgement from the government on the need to ensure that our roads are fit for cyclists.
"We will be following developments closely to ensure that this vision is turned into a reality as soon as possible.
"British Cycling has been banging the drum on the need for cycle-proofing and the redesign of dangerous junctions for months and it’s fantastic to see that these efforts – and the efforts of all of our members – have paid off.
"We will be following developments closely to ensure that this vision is turned into a reality as soon as possible for the near two million cyclists who use our roads every week.”
The government report promises “to make even greater provision for cycling as a form of transport… and retrofit the latest solutions and make sure that it is easy and safe for cyclists to use junctions."
The report also includes other commitments that benefit cycling:
- The Highways Agency will be working on 20 schemes to improve cycle access and reduce the risk at junctions and the strategy promises future schemes will be included.
- £15.1 billion will be invested in the network over the next 8 years.
- £12 billion will be spent on maintenance including resurfacing.
- The Highways Agency will be a public company from 2015 which should be enable to it to be more strategic about its investment.
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