Cycling and walking revolution - a bold vision for the UK

Posted: Tue, 28 Jul 2020 11:27

Cycling and walking revolution - a bold vision for the UK

The Government yesterday released both their new Cycling and Walking Plan and their new Cycling Design Guide which show a very real commitment to make England a great cycling and walking nation, with happier, healthier and greener communities, safer streets and convenient, accessible travel through cycling and walking. The plan includes:

  • Empowering Local Authorities to make significant changes
  • Enabling cycling and protecting people when they do
  • Prescribing cycling through GPs
  • Active Travel at the heart of decision making
  • Better streets for cycling and walking

£2bn over 4 years was announced in May which will support this. The benefits include reduced congestion, improved air quality, combating climate change, improving health and wellbeing, improving neighbourhoods and reducing inequalities.

There will be a need for more funding in future to achieve this ambitious plan. The plan sets out intentions to:

  • Create better streets for cycling and pedestrians, including thousands of miles of segregated, continuous and direct cycle paths. This document is very clear that painted white line cycle routes on busy roads will no longer be funded. There will be an emphasis on upgrading existing cycle routes to become segregated routes.
  • There will no longer be funding available for shared cycling and pedestrian paths.
  • There must be clear and regular signage for active travel.
  • A network of cycle, bus and walking corridors will be created.
  • The Government encourages the closure of roads to reduce rat running in neighbourhoods
  • Pedestrians and cyclists must be prioritised for direct route access.
  • School streets programme will be expanded, providing parking restrictions and temporary closures to protect children.

In addition, the government will look for 12 local authorities to become 'mini holland' exemplars. There will also be one city chosen to be a new zero emission transport city, which will include a ban on nearly all petrol and diesel vehicles in the city, consolidated delivery hubs and last mile delivery.

The document sets out requirements that:

  • Routes must be designed for large numbers of cyclists.
  • Cycle networks must be improved to focus on everyday journeys.
  • New rail corridors will be designed to support the cycle network plans.
  • Road conditions for cyclists must be well maintained and suitable for use.

A new body - called Active Travel England - will be created to fund, support and scrutinise these developments. In addition, to reinforce the importance of this, the newly formed Active Travel England will inspect and report on all Highways Authorities.

And, to support behaviour change:

  • Every adult and child that wants to learn will receive free or subsidised cycle training.
  • The NHS will work to prescribe cycling in pilot locations - including access to bikes and training.
  • Bike crime will be tackled - potentially through mandating bike ID numbering.
  • Legal changes will be put in place to prioritise and protect vulnerable road users.
  • The HighWay Code will be looked at - improving safety for vulnerable users and introducing a hierarchy which prioritises walking and cycling.
  • A higher standard of training will be required for HGV drivers.
  • A national ebike support programme will be created.

Active Notts welcome this revolution and Helen Hemstock, CEO, Ridewise and Active Notts panel member, said, "This is a significant and ambitious plan - and one that encompasses many of the things we, as the Greater Nottingham Cycling and Walking Advisory Group would naturally support. Of course, the devil is in the detail and the long term delivery plans for these actions will now start to be created.

"I'm really pleased with this approach - and with the Government setting out such clear expectations for an overhaul of the way cycling and walking infrastructure is planned, implemented, prioritised and supported.

"It's an exciting time to be involved in walking and cycling!"

The full plan can be found here

Tags: Active Notts, Active Travel, Cycling Revolution, Gear Change, Walking Plan