The UK government has announced £7m (US$9.8m) in new funding to improve road safety and help create more bike-friendly areas in a number of cities, while encouraging more people to use bicycles.
The new funding has been announced as part of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) cycle safety review, which will help ensure that UK roads are as safe as possible for all who use them. Eight cities, which the government has already been helping to lead the way in promoting cycling, will be given the chance to bid for an additional £6.5m (US$9m) of funding to trial new schemes that improve safety.
This will support the government’s aim of encouraging more people to cycle as part of their everyday journeys. The remaining £500,000 (US$800,000) will be set aside to support Cycling UK’s ‘Big Bike Revival’, a successful initiative that is helping to get more people across the country cycling safely and confidently.
The announcement is part of a drive to ensure that everyone across the country feels safe when cycling. It will be up to local authorities to decide what sort of schemes to bid for, and the DfT has invited bids from the eight councils and will be looking to support schemes that improve safety for cyclists, and which also deliver benefits for pedestrians.
The invited cities are: Bristol, Leeds, Cambridge, Birmingham, Norwich, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford. The DfT launched the first ever statutory ‘Cycling and walking investment strategy’ in April 2017, to encourage more people to cycle and walk. The document sets out how the government will deliver its ambition for cycling, and outlines how the £1.2bn (US$1.7bn) of funding available over the period to 2021 will be spent.
“Everyone should be able to take advantage of the huge health and environmental benefits of cycling,” said UK Transport Minister with responsibility for cycling Jesse Norman. “While Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, we want to encourage more people to take up cycling. This funding, as part of our overall cycling and walking strategy, will help local councils to make their roads safer for everyone.”
Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK chief executive, commented, “Last year the Big Bike Revival reached more than 50,000 people in England, and produced more than 6,000 regular cyclists, so the project represents incredible value for money. I’m delighted that the Department for Transport has recognized its significance by funding it for another year so we can get even more people cycling every day.”