With the price of fuel having an inevitable positive knock-on effect on the number of people choosing to ride rather than commute to work by car, there may be a danger that councils will take their foot off the gas when it comes to promoting cycling.
If through-the-roof petrol and diesel prices are doing the job of reducing congestion for them, the thinking goes, why should they bother investing in cycling infrastructure and promoting pedal-power?
The Cambridge Cycling Campaign, for one, is keeping the pressure on their local County Council by calling for strategic investment in new cycling infrastructure as a cost effective way to reduce congestion in and around Cambridge, irrespective of fuel prices. The Campaign is urging the Council to ensure that any Local Sustainable Transport Fund includes a strong cycling component.
The Campaign’s Cycling Vision 2016 statement outlines gaps in Cambridge’s cycling network that if filled, say the Campaign, could significantly increase the number of people who can cycle in safety.
Robin Heydon, a spokesperson for Cambridge Cycling Campaign, said: "Our vision is that by filling in the gaps in the current network, and improving the existing road environment, we can all benefit. More people cycling reduces traffic congestion and brings economic benefits to companies in Cambridge and the surrounding villages."
Cycling Vision 2016 envisions the housing and employment areas currently being planned around Cambridge all linked by a "Cycle Super Highway". With more people using bicycles to move around, the Cycling Vision 2016 also asks for an sufficient secure cycle parking to accommodate the bicycles. The report estimates that 5,500 cycle parking spaces will be required at the railway station by 2016, and over 1,000 spaces in the city centre.
Martin Lucas-Smith, Co-ordinator said "We urge the County Council to include our proposals in its forthcoming bid to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, and the City Council to give Cycling Vision 2016 its support."
The Local Sustainable Transport Fund can only be spent on projects that reduce carbon emissions and promote economic growth. Two out of three trips are less than five miles, a distance that can be comfortably made by bicycle.
Cambridge Cycling Campaign has published its Cycling Vision 2016 to guide how funds from government can be used to not only make Cambridge a more sustainable city, but one that is at the heart of the economic recovery of the whole of the region.
Roy Pegram, Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning, said: "Improving cycling in Cambridge and the rest of the County is important to the Council and we are pleased that the Cycling Campaign has recognised the hard work that has gone into increasing the number of journeys made by bike from 18 per cent to 21 per cent.
"The Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) is a one-off opportunity for up to £5 million funding across the whole of the County. Cycle schemes in Cambridge are very likely to be part of the bid, but there are other equally pressing priorities such as Community Transport. We will be working with partners such as the Cycling Campaign to prioritise schemes, maximise our chances of funding from the LSTF, and to identify other funding sources. A meeting is scheduled next month to look at a priority list for cycle schemes."