Coalition demands better cycling infrastructure

According to Financial Times, a coalition of UK businesses, including Sky and GlaxoSmithKline, has called for increased national spending on cycling infrastructure.

The intervention from the companies — along with Santander, National Grid and the Automobile Association — is a sign of how far the activity has grown from a hobby for young people into a legitimate mode of transport.

And, as the main political parties prepare to announce their election manifestos, a letter to David Cameron, Ed Miliband and five other party leaders, has called for five per cent of the UK’s annual transport expenditure to be ringfenced for cycling infrastructure.

They also demanded national design standards for a cycle-friendly road network by 2016 and a target for 10 per cent of all trips to be made by bicycle within the next decade.

About two per cent of all journeys are now made by bicycle, but ‘infuriatingly slow’ progress in improving roads has held back cycling, according to Chris Boardman, policy adviser at British Cycling.
‘We’re moving millimetre by millimetre in the right direction,’ he said.

The AA has also said the ‘us versus them’ mentality of motorists and cyclists had to end, and that increased spending on cycling infrastructure would not be to the detriment of other road users.

‘The benefits can work both ways. If you get more people cycling that means potentially less traffic congestion,’ said Edmund King, president of the AA.

Last year, Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, announced plans for ‘cycle superhighways’ running across the city that would accommodate 3,000 cyclists an hour on the east-to-west track alone.
However, Matt Wilson, GSK’s head of environmental sustainability, said that without a national policy on cycling, local efforts to improve road design would result in a ‘hotchpotch’ of transport infrastructure.