Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin says that 200 sections of road in England are to be “cycle-proofed” in a bid to reduce the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in road traffic incidents.
According to Graeme Patton, transport correspondent at The Times, the works, which will be carried out over the next six years, will see the creation of more segregated cycle lanes, cyclist-friendly junctions, and places where bike riders can cross the road safely.
Mr McLoughlin, Conservative MP for Derbyshire Dales, also said that “cycle-proofing” would be an integral part of future major road-building initiatives on the country’s major road network.
He said: “Any road scheme has to have cyclists in mind. In fairness, that’s the easiest time to do it. That’s the time when you have got to start thinking of cycling lanes.”
But he acknowledged that the Highways Agency had not served cyclists properly in the past, and that road engineers had not been “used to cycle-proofing things because it wasn’t an issue; it hasn’t been looked at.”
According to The Times, some £100 million will be set aside for the works, which will take place between 2015 and 2021, with the money coming from the £15.2 billion budget for the Roads Improvement Strategy.
That represents less than 1 per cent of the total being spent on the country’s roads under the strategy.
While other money is being spent on cycling – notably the £114 million awarded to eight cities under the second wave of the Cycle City Ambition initiative – the combined total will still be well below the minimum spend on cycling of £10 per person per year cycling organisations such as British Cycling, CTC and Sustrans are seeking.
Yesterday, however, they welcomed the government’s incorporation into the Infrastructure Bill of an amendment tabled by Dr Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
Under that amendment, the Department for Transport will be obliged to set targets and investment for cycling and walking, a move described as “a massive step in the right direction” by British Cycling policy adviser, Chris Boardman.
The Times says that schemes included in the investment announced by Mr McLoughlin include a £1.8 million project on main roads in the Suffolk port of Lowestoft, and a crossing at the A38 in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, which will cost £460,000.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.