The Government has outlined plans to help people to walk and cycle more, as it hopes to persuade drivers to leave their cars at home for shorter journeys.
At the same time, the Department for Transport (DfT) has published a call for evidence on cycling, asking for a range of views and opinions from the public on everything from improved infrastructure to education for all road users.
Cycling minister Jesse Norman also announced today (March 9) that he has awarded £100,000 of seed funding to three cycling safety projects. These pilots aim to tackle a range of issues, including reducing the cost of e-bike batteries through recycling used laptop batteries.
He said: “We need to become a nation of cyclists, and this Government wants to make cycling the natural choice of transport for people of all ages and backgrounds.
“The call for evidence published today will support an open, comprehensive and thorough review across government to encourage active travel and improve safety for all road users, and I hope that as many people as possible take the time to read and respond to it.
“We are determined to make cycling safer and easier across the country, and we are continuing to invest.
“Today we’re announcing an investment of £100,000 each in 3 innovative cycle safety projects, in addition to the recent £7 million of funding to improve cycle safety. This is all part of the first-ever statutory Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.”
The announcement comes as a report, recommending that there is a case for a new offence to be introduced to tackle dangerous cycling, has been published by the DfT.
The independent report, written by legal expert Laura Thomas, finds there is a strong case for changing the law to tackle the issue of dangerous and careless cycling that causes injury or death. If this were to be introduced, it would bring cycling in line with serious driving offences.
Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Cycling UK said: “Cycling UK has long campaigned for a review of all road safety laws and enforcement, so it is encouraging that these points will be considered in the call for evidence.
“We want to see more people cycling safely, and will actively engage with the review to ensure it addresses the causes of dangers for cyclists and the barriers to more cycling.”
Xavier Brice, CEO of walking and cycling charity Sustrans, added: “We welcome the Government’s cycling and walking investment strategy safety review’ and especially the inclusion of pedestrians in the review. This is something we advocated.
“Safety concerns are some of the greatest barriers to more people choosing to walk and cycle and we are pleased that the review is seeking to make it easier for everyone to travel on foot or by bike, and recognises the wide benefits that active travel brings to individuals and societies.
“Road safety applies to everyone, regardless of travel mode and we broadly support the case for a new offence to tackle dangerous cycling.
“However, it must remain proportional as people on bikes rarely cause harm to others through their own actions but, like pedestrians, are particularly vulnerable to motor vehicles which are by far the largest cause of death and serious injury on our roads.
“It is therefore good to see this as only one part of a much wider safety review to enable more people to walk and cycle every day.”