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14 million people ready to get on their bikes says British Cycling

Organisation urges local authorities to “seize the moment” and offers its help

British Cycling says if towns and cities follow Department for Transport (DfT) guidance and quickly implement new temporary infrastructure, up to 14 million UK adults are ready to start cycling. The organisation says it is ready to support that transformation, “in any way we can.”

New government guidance for local authorities demands that more space be provided for walking and cycling in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of pop-up cycle lanes have been announced and the guidance states that improvements should be made “within weeks.”

Figures taken from British Cycling and HSBC UK’s ‘Cycle Nation Project’ report show that 28 per cent of the UK adult population – over 14 million people – currently cycle less than once per month and would like to cycle more regularly.

The organisation says that increasing cycling by 3km per day and walking by 1km amongst individuals in urban centres in England and Wales could result in £17bn in savings to the NHS over 20 years.

Chief Executive Julie Harrington said: “Our country is undoubtedly at a crossroads, and we now face a stark choice between the old routine of cars, congestion and pollution or a new future of healthy streets, happy people and cleaner air.

“All of our research shows that people want to cycle more, and we now urge local authorities to seize the moment and make the most of the support offered by Government.

“Enabling more people to choose cycling is vital if we want to ease pressure on public transport and help those for whom getting around by bike is not an option.

“British Cycling stands ready to support that transformation in any way we can, and we’ll be regularly adding to the measures unveiled today over the coming weeks and months.”

As part of its relaunched #ChooseCycling campaign, British Cycling will be introducing new measures to help people and policymakers make the switch.

These include interactive tips and videos for prospective cycle commuters and a live webinar for local and regional authorities led by policy adviser Chris Boardman.

It will also make use of its nationwide network of over 10,000 volunteers to provide support for new riders in their communities.

Cycling Minister Chris Heaton-Harris commented: “Across the country there has been a surge in the numbers of people taking to their bikes over the past few weeks, and I want this trend to continue long after this crisis is over.

“British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling campaign is a fantastic way to get expert tips and advice on cycling. Alongside our record £2bn investment in active travel, we hope to see even more people cycling than before and helping create a positive, healthy and green legacy.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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Hirsute | 3 years ago

This lad is doing well

70k a day for an 11 year old is good.


rayjay | 3 years ago

What's the problem with electric cars . That is the way to go . Not everyone wants to spend an hour a day riding there bike to work in a stressful job in many cases.  Have you ever rode your bike in the rush hour in London . It's awful. Racing idiots everywhere ,cutting you up etc etc. Why on earth would you put yourself through that when you could get home quicker on the tube . My wife very fit ,teaches martial arts . Works for the government. Her office is just 20 mins away by tube why would she get on a bike taking at least 35 /  40 minutes of high stress traffic putting herself at risk.   It's not worth the risk for one . So many idiots on bikes and now on scooter things .  The government and MSM have scared to death most people thinking they are in a zombie ( covid ) apocalypse. Most people now are going to feel safer in their cars.  The roads are for everyone including cars . Some people have kids etc  and a car makes life much easier for them and not everyone lives  in london. This cycle eutopia is  not for everyone and if you are trying to dictate to people how they should live then your a facist . I ride my bikes I love cycling but I do not feel compelled to dictate how people should live their lives and how they should go about their lives. Pollution, yes we should  make that  better in the places where it effects our health , that is not everywhere though only some places.  You have to realise that there is a lot of money to be made and no company or politician is doing things out of the kindness of their heart ,they never have. 

Sriracha replied to rayjay | 3 years ago

Well yes, people should be able to choose to use their car, or their bike. But as you have shown, car use is condoned even to the extent that cars make people are too scared to exercise their choice - for many it's just too dangerous on a bike.
We'll have got there when the choice whether or not to use a bike is not dictated by fear of death or injury.

Hirsute replied to rayjay | 3 years ago

The problem with electric cars is congestion plus the environmental cost of ownership.

I find it very hard to believe that a 20 minute tube journey equates to a 35-40 cycle ride for a fit person.
I take it both ends are right by the stations.

eburtthebike replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago

hirsute wrote:

The problem with electric cars is congestion plus the environmental cost of ownership. I find it very hard to believe that a 20 minute tube journey equates to a 35-40 cycle ride for a fit person. I take it both ends are right by the stations.

And the massive amount of pollution from tyre wear and brake pads, which as I recall,  is actually bigger than the pollution caused by the engine.

Zigster replied to rayjay | 3 years ago

We need a new cycling bingo card for idiots like you.  I'm surprised you didn't mention that you're a plumber who regularly has to deliver fridges and is registered disabled so you can't ride a bike.  Just using the phrase "MSM" marks you as a moron - presumably preferring Karen from Facebook as your news source.

Electric cars clog up the roads and need the same amount of storage as ICE cars - or have you somehow figured out how to store all these electric cars in central London which you know so well? Electric cars don't produce as much carbon emissions at point of use, but still produce other pollution such as brake dust.  And we don't yet have an infrastructure which allows many to be charged in the roadside, unless you think investing in that infrastructure is somehow different.

Why is riding a bike more stressful than getting the tube? I'd find the tube pretty stressful at the moment.  I've ridden a bike in London for many years - a 6 mile each way commute takes about 30 mins at a pace which doesn't require a shower at the other destination.  Quite an expensive bike paid for itself within a year so a financial no brainer for a basic bike.

If your wife really is fit, she would be much quicker on a bike than in the tube.  I suspect you've forgotten to take into account 30-60 mins of walking to and from the tube station at each end.  Very few people are so seriously disabled that they can't cycle a few miles with the right infrastructure and, with the right infrastructure, the roads would be much more free for those who genuinely have no option but to drive.

The point of investing in cycling infrastructure is to take away the fear factor for the more nervous.  Make it so you would be happy with your 12 year old riding it and you have succeeded.

Outside of London, in the small towns and cities where most of us live, cycling  infrastructure makes even more sense.  Distances travelled are smaller for most and many areas are even more congested because there are no viable alternatives to a private car.

No one is saying it will be compulsory - you're just being ridiculous. If you are seriously telling us that we can't invest in giving people a safe, cheap and practical option to travel then you are the fascist, not those of who who would like to see the public having a real choice.

David9694 replied to rayjay | 3 years ago

I can't think of anywhere I'd rather not be than the Tube. 

if you could go back to say 1900, and had the choice would you choose the local transport world we ideologues are describing, or the one we've got?

Velophaart_95 | 3 years ago

Sadly, I'll echo what others have said. It was never going to last. As soon as 'lockdown' was relaxed, people reverted to 'normal'. 

There has been plenty of comments during this period about how things may change for the better; less car use, more working from home, more cycling, etc

It is/was all a pipe dream. During my cycle rides the last few days, it has been noticeable that the traffic has increased; in fact, it's almost 'back to normal'. 

Gary's bike channel | 3 years ago

i'll agree with you both. It isnt a golden age for cycling. It COULD have been. But look at how many more cars there suddenly are now. Both directions, not just the odd couple every few minutes like it was 5 weeks back. No more families on the road. Only speedy cyclists. And a couple of terrified people on the pavement scared of the cars. 

Rick_Rude replied to Gary's bike channel | 3 years ago

It was a golden few weeks. As has been said all back to normal now. Where people are going during the week I don't know though. Most aren't working but the roads are vastly more busy now.

ktache replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago
1 like

I wouldn't say it was back to school summer holiday level yet, though I've not done the morning bit for a while.

I can only comment on my neck of the woods of course...

It was quiet out there for a while.

Hirsute replied to Rick_Rude | 3 years ago

A lot more transit type vans.
I know construction folk are definitely back, then there are people going for a drive.

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 years ago

Let me be the first to comment. In a year's time modal share will be back to the usual 1 - 2 % (cycling), all the 'pop - up' cycle lanes will have been dismantled, UK cities and towns will once more exceed all pollution and congestion levels. Just saying. 

eburtthebike replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 years ago

Lukas wrote:

Let me be the first to comment. In a year's time modal share will be back to the usual 1 - 2 % (cycling), all the 'pop - up' cycle lanes will have been dismantled, UK cities and towns will once more exceed all pollution and congestion levels. Just saying. 

I sometimes hate how cynical I've become, but I think you're right.

We've had all the "golden age of cycling" rhetoric, the many, many announcements of massive improvements to roads, the many, many commitments to increase cycling and yet precious little changes.  If there is one thing you can depend on the current shower of a so-called government for, it's utter incompetence, from Boris Bloodhands down, so I would be surprised and shocked if this lot got it right.

HarrogateSpa replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 years ago

Change is hard but the arguments for it are unanswerable.

Unless we believe what we're fighting for is possible, we may as well give up.

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