Government spending on the UK’s cycling infrastructure must be increased fivefold by 2020 to improve road safety and encourage sustainable transport, MPs have said.
In a new report, the transport select committee says spending on cycling should rise from £2 per taxpayer to £10 per taxpayer in the next six years.
Last year, 109 cyclists were killed on roads in England, Scotland and Wales, and more than 3,143 were seriously injured. Six were killed in London in just one month. Interviewed by the committee, cyclists complained about a lack of infrastructure, unfriendly roads and aggressive behaviour from drivers.
This occurred in the same year that prime minister David Cameron called for a “cycling revolution” following Britain’s successes in the sport.
For the number of casualties to be curbed, the report says all government departments must take the lead in instigating “a culture change”.
Louise Ellman, chair of the transport committee, said, “Investing in cycling will make the roads safer for all users, and encourage more people to cycle and walk.
“Drivers and cyclists should be encouraged to share the road safely, to treat each other with respect and to comply with the law.
“Transport ministers must demonstrate clear political leadership by championing cycling and the Department for Transport must coordinate action across government on this vital agenda,” she added.
Alongside improvement of infrastructure such as cycle lanes, the committee calls for cycle training to be made available to all cyclists and recommends an amendment of the Highway Code.
Writing in Blue & Green Tomorrow’s Guide to Sustainable Transport 2014, Alec James, of the cycling charity Sustrans, said, “Cycling is arguably the closest to a single sustainable transport solution that the UK has.
“It’s affordable, healthy and sustainable. More Britons on their bikes will boost the economy, save our ailing health system and give the environment a second chance.
“Cycling could truly revolutionise the UK’s transport system by making our cities more liveable, our travel costs more affordable and our lifestyles healthier and more active. It’s a no brainer for personal finance and for the wealth and prosperity of the UK.”
Photo: Rupert Ganzer via Flickr