Transport secretary Grant Shapps says that half a million £50 vouchers will be issued to people in England to help get neglected bikes back on the road.
The vouchers had first been mentioned a fortnight ago when Shapps confirmed that £250 million was being made available for councils to provide emergency cycling and walking infrastructure.
4th June 2020: We will provide further updates on how that scheme will function, and how you can obtain one of the vouchers, as soon as we have the information from the Department for Transport.
Speaking at yesterday’s Downing Street briefing, the cabinet minister provide a little further detail on them.
Talking of how the way the nation moves around will have to change as it emerges from lockdown, he said: “Previously we announced the introduction of a scheme to help bring bicycles back to a roadworthy condition,# relieving the pressure on public transport, and improving the nation’s health.”
The £50 bicycle maintenance voucher, “available from next month … will help up to half-a-million people drag bikes out of retirement,” said Shapps.
He said that would help in “speeding up the cycling revolution, helping individuals become fitter and healthier, and reducing air pollution, which remains a hidden killer.
“Clean air should be as big a priority for us in the 21st century as clean water was to the Victorians in the 19th.”
In recent weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the transport secretary have both encouraged driving, and above all cycling and walking as a means of getting to work while avoiding public transport., with Boris Johnson hailing a "new Golden Age for Cycling,."
With many people expected to use their cars to commute when they return to work, there have been concerns over gridlock in towns and city centres, but Shapps hinted yesterday that measures would be implemented to prevent that from happening.
He said: “For those who live too far to cycle and walk, and must drive to major conurbations, we will repurpose parking in places just outside town centres so people can park on the outskirts and finish their journeys on foot or bike or even e-scooter.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.