Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Pop-up bike lanes a necessary form of social justice says Chris Boardman

Car-led recovery is “not an option” according to local councillors

British Cycling policy adviser Chris Boardman says that the temporary bike lanes that are being constructed in response to the coronavirus pandemic are a matter of “social justice”. Highlighting the urgent need for new infrastructure, the Greater Manchester cycling commissioner points out that without additional cycle space his region would need to find 12,000 extra buses to allow for social distancing, “which is clearly impossible.”

The government last month announced a £250m emergency active travel fund. Explaining the move, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the country needed far more people to cycle. “Otherwise, with public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.”

On Wednesday, a report from the UK Government’s Social Mobility Commission found that people in lower income households make 2.5 times as many bus journeys as those in higher income households.

In a speech to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling and Walking Group yesterday, Boardman highlighted how the lowest paid could be hardest hit by public transport disruption.

“Social justice is a strong reason for change,” he said. “It helps politicians make tough and sometimes unpopular decisions, and it also helps the public understand and tolerate changes that might inconvenience them.

“In the UK around a quarter of all households don’t have access to a car, so they are reliant on public transport.

“On a standard day in Greater Manchester there are 300,000 trips on public transport of three miles or less, and for the next few months at least, those public transport options will be limited to less than 20 per cent of usual occupancy.

“That means every day 240,000 people will not be able to travel in this way if they are to comply with social distancing guidelines.

“We’d need to find 12,000 extra buses to accommodate them, which is clearly impossible, so 240,000 people – many without access to a car – must find an alternative or simply not travel to work, schools or the shops.

“Right now, this isn’t about pollution, congestion, inactivity, or cost – the usual arguments for investment in cycling. It’s about social justice, social inclusion, and making sure that those who don’t have a car have a safe travel choice.”

Echoing Boardman’s comments, Councillor Claire Holland, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Lead for Sustainable Transport, Environment and Clean Air at Lambeth Council, said: “Nearly 70 per cent of residents in Lambeth live in flats. A third of children are growing up in poverty and the majority of households do not own or have access to a car.

“If you put all of this together, for us in Lambeth this was an equalities issue, and this is fundamentally for me about social justice. For us, a car-led recovery is not an option.”

Emergency cycle funding by region – how much is available in your area?

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

Latest Comments

  • Gm_Crop 1 sec ago

    I can't believe Canyon didn't take the opportunity to call it the bell end.

  • The Giblet 5 min 47 sec ago

    Will the campaigners for the STOP THE ROAD CLOSURES all turn up in cars and protest in their cars? Surely that is the only way they can protest.

  • The Giblet 9 min 48 sec ago

    Wow, the advert for the strange insurance website has been published after they create a pointless and completely meaningless "survey". Job done...

  • Dr Winston 1 hour 23 min ago

    I had this discussion elsewhere (BTW you missed Caruso off your list). The only thing I can think of is that they want to have a decent team in...

  • wycombewheeler 2 hours 6 min ago

    Hunt wheels are suitable for centrelock rotors which I prefer to 6 bolt, I don't see how a centre lock rotor could not be compatible. Perhaps you...

  • Nigel Garrage 2 hours 31 min ago

    I'm delighted to set the record straight for you - safety reasons were given as the underlying factor for being on the pavement, but the cargo bike...

  • TheBillder 3 hours 23 min ago

    Underrated, Dave. He also invented working with a shyster financier to repackage invoice factoring into "possible invoice if we actually had this...

  • biker phil 3 hours 32 min ago

    The 911 clip isn't a near miss, the driver did attempt to pull out, yes. But as soon as the driver clocked the cyclist, they stopped.

  • TheBillder 3 hours 45 min ago

    Nigel, as you know, luck does not come into it. If you can't afford to subscribe to the Telegraph (Belfast?) then obviously you don't work hard...

  • hennie 3 hours 53 min ago

    I'm waiting for a June delivery but only paid early May. Having now read the reviews (why didn't I do that before?) I think it's more likely to be...