Last summer, the UK government announced a new £2 billion package to encourage cycling and walking as forms of “active travel”. This is the largest boost for cyclists we’ve ever had, a once in a generation investment. The package is set to include:
- Emergency pop-up bike lanes
- Safer junctions
- Cycle corridors
- Vouchers for cycle repairs (worth £50)
Councils will also be told to reallocate roadspace for increased numbers of cyclists, as demand is set to keep on increasing. There is also expected to be an increase in uptake of the Cycle to Work scheme, which allows employees to receive discounts on bikes.
In the briefing’s Q&A section, Shapps pointed out that if “cycling increased by only 5% it would mean 8 million fewer car journeys, 9 million fewer rail journeys and 13 million fewer bus journeys.” With quieter roads and cleaner air, now’s the perfect time to dust off that bike and rediscover cycling.
Through the investment, the government hopes to double cycling in the UK by 2025, ushering us into “a new golden age for cycling”. Since the beginning of the first lockdown cycling has increased by at least 70%, which is only going to keep rising as everyone considers new ways to get around and exercise. Brompton, the UK’s largest bike manufacturer, has reported a fivefold increase in online sales since the start of April 2020, with cycle repair shops also seeing a surge in business as people have begun bringing in unused bikes stored in sheds back on the roads.
Sir Dave Brailsford, Team Principal of Team INEOS, said:
“If ever there was a good time to get on your bike, it’s now. You will be helping take pressure off public transport. You will be looking after your health. You will be looking after the health of others and you will be helping the environment. Let’s all get pedalling and help Britain on the road to recovery."