More cycle training, more Cycle to Work initiatives…but CTC laments lack of cash or timetable

Moves to put cycling 'at the heart' of public transport and health policies were announced by the government today, but lack of timetable or earmarked funding disappoints the CTC.

As well as making cycling and walking mainstream transport choices the Department for Transport's Active Travel Strategy also wants to see every child trained to ride a bike, and every major public sector employer signed up for the Cycle To Work scheme.

Other proposals include:

Cycle parking at or within easy reach of every public building

Sufficient secure bike parking at every rail station

Local authorities introducing 20mph zones and limits into more residential streets to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Announcing the scheme, Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said: “Active travel means a transport system where walking and cycling become the norm. Instead of automatically reaching for their car keys, I want to see people feeling confident enough to jump on their bike or pull on a pair of trainers. I am confident that this strategy will achieve this, making active travel a genuine and viable option for everybody.”

But while welcoming the strategy, the CTC has reacted cautiously. It has expressed 'disappointment' that no specific timetables for achieving the goals laid out has been agreed, and hat an 'action plan with pound signs' is needed to deliver it.

In a statement, the CTC said: “CTC has been campaigning for the Government to increase cycling to the level achieved by many of our European neighbours, so is pleased this aspiration is endorsed by the Strategy. However, even though it refers to the doubling of cycling levels in London in eight years and Darlington in three, it is disappointing that the Strategy itself contains no specific timescales for achieving similar goals nationally. Furthermore, there are no new initiatives or investment to deliver the promised ‘Decade of Cycling’.”

CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Director Roger Geffen added: “The Active Travel Strategy is a supportive statement of warm words about cycling. Unfortunately, it cannot deliver the massive step-change in cycle use that it recommends alone. CTC wants government departments to tell us what they are going to do and spend to make this happen. To tackle obesity, climate change and congested roads we need more than a homily to the humble bike; we need an action plan with pound signs attached.

“CTC believes cyclists need to come together to ensure there is a strong cross-party consensus for the Active Travel Strategy to become a reality, so that cycling grows into a mainstream activity. It is clear that we won’t see any real changes until after the election, so that’s why CTC will shortly be launching a new campaign called Vote Bike, so that cyclists can enlist the support of their parliamentary candidates to ensure cycling stays on the Government’s agenda.”

The Government has, however, released some figures. £12.5m has been earmarked for the delivery of cycle training for half a million additional school children by 2012.

The funding - part of the Government's £140m cycling budget over three years - will be provided to local authorities, the government's Cycling Demonstration Towns, Youth Sport Trust, School Sports Partnerships and cycle trainers.

Sustainable Towns success

Also published today are results from an evaluation of the government's Sustainable Travel Towns project, which aims to showcase towns that put walking, cycling and public transport in the spotlight.

Across three towns - Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester - there have been:

- 7% to 9% reductions in car trips

- 26% to 30% increases in cycling trips

- 10% to 13% increases in walking trips