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Ruth Cadbury calls for cycling & walking investment

27th February 2019

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament, London

In an article in Parliament's magazine The House, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling Ruth Cadbury has called for more investment in cycling and walking. She notes the target in the government's Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy to double cycle trips by 2025, but says current policies will fail to achieve that. They will result in only a third of that increase.

Cadbury says that transport is the biggest single source of CO2. 68% of all trips are under 5 miles, but half of them are made by car.

Fear of traffic is the biggest barrier to cycling. Cadbury wants the government's review of the Highway Code to result in a rewrite, backed up by police enforcement against close passes and speeding.

That won't be enough, and our roads must be redesigned. The article refers to 'misguided commentary' in the national press, where the ridiculous claim that protected cycle lanes cause congestion has often been made. The real cause, as the London Assembly found, is an increase in delivery traffic (plus 11% in 3 years), and a 72% increase in private hire vehicles like Uber taxis.

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy has no additional funding attached to it. Local authorities can prepare long-term plans for cycling and walking, but don't have any confidence that there will be money available to implement them. Only Chris Boardman in Greater Manchester has transformative plans.

In Britain, with funding of £5-8 per head per year (on the basis of the government's optimistic figures), cycling has a modal share of 2%. In Denmark, where funding is €20-30 per head per year, modal share is 20%.

If the UK invests, it can expect a return on investment. Health benefits alone are often 20 times the investment. This is much greater than other transport schemes - including HS2, where the cycle path had the most favourable cost-benefit ratio, but has been abandoned.

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