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Boardman: government's cycling record "very disappointing"

Supposedly we live in a democracy, the majority of people say they want safe cycling routes, so why aren't we doing it? says Chris Boardman...

Chris Boardman says government needs to listen to “the vast majority of people” who have said they want safe cycle infrastructure.

Boardman spoke out following the British Cycling commissioned poll revealing that 70% of people support cycle infrastructure on main roads. He said national leadership on cycling is needed, so that doing nothing is not an option for local councils.

He told at the Lee Valley Velopark last week this government has been “very disappointing” on its record for cycling, after saying it wants a cycling revolution three years ago, while cycle funding is set to drop to £1.39 per person this year.

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Boardman told the 70% figure in support of infrastructure does not come as a surprise. “The vast majority of people want to see more provision for their families to be able to cycle to get to work, to get to school. We’ve known it for a long time," he said.

He called this the latest brick in the wall of evidence in terms of public support that makes it harder for government to ignore, adding to data on cycling's benefits on air pollution, public health, and economics.

“Supposedly we live in a democracy. The majority of people are saying, from an independent survey, we want to see more of this and so why not, really?

“Everything says you should be doing this… it’s the most efficient form of transport from the government’s own figures, so I want to know why aren’t we?

When asked about the government’s agenda of localism, with Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill emphasising the onus is on local government to allocate money to cycling, Boardman said

“It depends on where you draw the line with localism, we have a 30 mph speed limit, 70 mph speed limit for the whole country, we have a centralised government for a reason.

"For me what localism should be is: ‘this is what we want our towns and cities to look like, this is how we want people to get around for the good of all of us’. How you do that in your area is up to you, but not doing it is not an option.

“The Active Travel Bill in Wales says ‘we want to make a change, we want to do things differently’, and that’s the kind of thing that we’d like to see, but this government has been, it’s very disappointing, we had statements such as ‘I want to see a cycling revolution’, ‘I want our country to rival any of our European neighbours’, well that was, what, three years ago now, and cycle funding has dropped away.”

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