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Cycling and walking added to Infrastructure Bill

"A massive step in the right direction" says Chris Boardman...

The Government's Infrastructure Bill will include provision for cycling and walking after an amendment proposed by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert and others was added to the draft legislation currently before Parliament.

The amendment obliges the Department for Transport to set targets and investment for cycling and walking.

Cycling organisations and campaigners welcomed the amendment as a big step forward in ensuring that cycling is taken seriously as a form of transport by government and planners.

Julian Huppert, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, said:

“I am really delighted that the Government has seen the force of our argument and is writing into law the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.

“It is the right thing to improve health, the environment and congestion."

British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said:

“Transforming the way Britain travels is not something we can do overnight but this amendment represents a massive shift in thinking and most importantly, commitment. It brings us one step closer to realising our vision for a cycling nation.

“If passed, this Bill will mean that cycling can no longer be ignored as a legitimate form of transport. It makes the transport secretary directly responsible for setting targets and putting in investment.

“And this isn’t just about roads, it could require railway stations, offices and retail parks to all accommodate the needs of people on bikes. I expect all MPs and peers do the right thing and vote through this amendment.

"This truly is a fantastic move and is one that reflects the actions we called for in our #ChooseCycling action plan, launched in parliament last year. British Cycling’s 100,000-strong membership, and everyone who rides a bike, should see this as the start of something really exciting.”

Paul Tuohy, CEO of cycling charity CTC said: “This is a massive step towards creating that “cycling revolution” the Prime Minister promised us two years ago. Thanks to the hard work of DfT officials, the All Party Cycling Group coalition partners and the thousands of supporters who have written to their MPs cycling in England looks to have a future.

“Now we need MPs to demonstrate a collegiate response by backing an amendment which can only better the health and wealth of the UK, and with the general election only months away we await with eager interest to hear how much funding each party would put into the investment strategy. ”

Active travel charity Sustrans called the amendment "a great opportunity to guarantee long term funding that will extend travel choice, help to ease congestion and improve our health and our environment."

The devil, however, will be in the details. The amendment doesn't set out a level of funding for cycling, or any design standards for cycling infrastructure.

On Twitter, Transport campaigner Alex Ingram said: "So the revised design manual and proper audit of all road design for cycling goes from massively overdue to massively overdue and urgent."

Other cycling campaigners have expressed concern that if provision is left to local authorities, any funding will be wasted.

Surrey campaigner Parimal Kumar tweeted: "look at the "mini-Hollands" - Kingston is basically using cycling money to repave footpaths & that's it."

Nevertheless, the Infrastructure Bill will oblige the DfT to plan for cycling, a distinct improvement on what Chris Boardman once called "the ‘make nice noises but no real provision’ stance".

The key clause of the amendment says;

If a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is not currently in place, the
Secretary of State must—
(a) lay before Parliament a report explaining why a Strategy has not been set,
(b) set a Strategy as soon as may be reasonably practicable.”

Here's Chris Boardman's personal reaction to the news:



And Julian Huppert's:



John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment


Matt eaton | 9 years ago

Seems like a good thing, I just hope that there will be good standards set about what infrastructure should look like. The fact that cycling and walking are being lumped together gives me some cause for concern. The concept that cyclists are essentially rolling pedestrians is already a problem.

Many local authorities seem to 'provide' for cyclists by allowing them to ride on the pavement and an increase in this approach driven by legal obligation would not be a good thing.

Condor flyer | 9 years ago

The point is this is the first time ever any government has written cycling into a Bill. So, a big step forward. They've painted themselves into a corner and must do something.
Chris Boardman will be on their case if they don't.

Sadoldsamurai | 9 years ago

"The devil, however, will be in the details. The amendment doesn't set out a level of funding for cycling, or any design standards for cycling infrastructure"... Hmm am I being too cynical  39

ibike | 9 years ago

"The journey to a thousand mile of cycle lanes begins with a single step."

Let's hope the real work can now start.

kitkat | 9 years ago

It's about momentum. Keeping these changes coming and getting people who see the benefits of cycling into government & civil positions means things will change.

As Mr Boardman says, it won't happen over night but we haven't been at this very long. I'm sure anyone who was cycling before the noughties will testify to riding through decades of stagnation.

As I've said before, being a student & working in Edinburgh in the 90s there were about 3 of people on my commute. When I go back to the city now I can't believe the number of bikes being ridden.

Change is happening, keep pushing & be positive!

mrmo | 9 years ago

Is there any chance of this making into law, I am just thinking with the election looming will it be dropped?

Dnnnnnn replied to mrmo | 9 years ago
mrmo wrote:

Is there any chance of this making into law

If it's included in the Infrastructure Bill, and the Bill wins a vote (which it almost certainly will in the next couple of months), then it will be law.

Dnnnnnn | 9 years ago

It's a cheap-to-make promise but it's a useful step forward.

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