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Jesse Norman expands on his controversial road safety review

E-bikes could be available with subsidies under policies being examined in an effort to get more people cycling.

Roads minister Jesse Norman told the Guardian that electric cargo bikes could be used to deliver packages, easing the gridlock caused by a boom in online shopping.

He said: “I think e-bikes and ebikes-plus are a really interesting potential way of handling that last mile or two of deliveries.”

He said his ambition was to “make the transition to a world where a 12-year-old can cycle safely”.

But he said there was no guarantee of more money for segregated cycle paths, and that the government was also looking into making helmets and high-vis clothing compulsory.

He assured cyclists that any decisions would be based on evidence.

Speaking about financial support for those buying e-bikes, Norman said: “We’ve done some work on that already, and I haven’t looked at the outcomes yet, and they might not be ready yet. There’s a case in principle.”

Norman said critics of the road safety review following the death of Kim Briggs, who was hit by an illegal cyclist, had “missed a wider point” that the safety review would also cover the danger posed to cyclists by drivers, including those “using cars in ways that are intentional and punitive”.

He added that the review would “ask very general questions and if the feedback is that we should consider that stuff, then we’ll look at it”.

He added: “Obviously there will be some people who feel very strongly that there should be hi-vis, and there will be plenty of people who think very strongly the other way. It’ll be the same with helmets. The literature on risk is quite a well developed one, I don’t need to tell you.”

He said: “It’s not just, if I may say so, the actions of a government which is supportive of cycling, it’s also the actions of a government that understands that the whole nature of the way in which we use the roads, and the way we think about cities, is going to change dramatically over the next decade or two, and possibly earlier. We need to be fully abreast of that.”

Earlier this month we reported how Norman was forced to defend himself from accusations of being anti-cyclist.

He said: “To be clear: I am a keen cyclist myself, and I am absolutely aware of the number of cyclists killed and injured every year.

“The purpose of the review is to make our roads safer for all users, and the safety of cyclists will be a key element of that.”

He added: “As I made clear, the review will address two key issues. The first is legal: whether the law is defective in the case of bodily harm or death from a cyclist, and specifically whether, as the rule of law demands, there is an adequate remedy here. Our aim is to complete this work early in the new year.”

“The second issue is broader: how to make the roads safer for all users. After the legal review there will be a public consultation, and road user groups and the general public will be invited to submit their views and evidence then.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.