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Government announces £50 million for Bikeability

Department for Transport will also consult over sideguards on lorries

The government says it will spend £50 million on continuing to provide Bikeability training to children in England over the next four years. In a package of measures announced today to improve road safety, it also says it will consult on making sure lorry operators do not remove sideguards fitted to them.

The cash for the Bikeability programme works out at £12.5 million a year, a slight increase on the amounts of £11.7 million spent in 2014/15 and the £11.9 million set aside for the current year, when it is expected 275,000 children will benefit from training.

Prior to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s autumn statement last month, cycling campaigners had expressed concern that funding for Bikeability might be cut as a result of the comprehensive spending review.

> Fears over Bikeability Funding

The Department for Transport (DfT) added that it “will consult on changes to improve cycle safety to ensure sideguards are not removed from HGVs but remain permanently fitted.”

In September, UK Haulier reported on a survey which found that more than 85 per cent of haulage firms wanted to see national standards for fleets in Britain to make the roads safer for vulnerable road users.

While the Safer Lorries Scheme in London requires operators in the city to fit safety devices such as mirrors and sideguards, there is no such obligation in other cities.

> Calls for Safer Lorries Scheme to be extended nationwide

Phil Roe, managing director of strategy, innovation and development at DHL, said: “A unified industry scheme for standards of operation would create simplicity and clarity for authorities, manufacturers and transport companies alike.

"It will cut down on red tape and ensure safety is consistent across the country.

“Our industry is great at working towards defined goals but operators will be nervous about taking action without commonly-agreed guidelines being put in place,” he added.

“Ultimately, a more unified national approach to compliance is essential if we’re to have safer, cleaner and quieter urban logistics.”

Other measures announced by the DfT today include introducing stiffer penalties for drivers caught using handheld mobile phones at the wheel.

> Stiffer penalties for using mobile phone while driving?

The current three penalty points will be increased to four (and to six in cases involving larger vehicles such as lorries), and the fixed penalty notice will rise from £100 to £150.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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