Integrated Transport White Paper
The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' Integrated Transport White Paper "A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone" signalled a major change in transport policy. It recognised that the National Cycling Strategy highlighted the potential of cycling as a flexible, relatively cheap and environmentally friendly way to travel with important health benefits for people of all ages. The Government has a target to increase cycling and expects local authorities to provide the necessary facilities to make this happen.
Cycling, however, has been in decline nationally, even though more people own a bicycle than ever before. But this doesn't have to be the case if we make it easier and safer to cycle.
Road Safety Strategy
The Government has taken many steps to ensure that the roads are made safer for cyclists. A whole range of initiatives, including improved signing, increased use of traffic calming, local speed limits and a review of enforcement and penalties for speeding were presented in the recently published Road Safety Strategy. Above all, local authorities in urban areas are urged to use the increased powers they now have to introduce 20 mph zones where appropriate, especially in areas such as schools where there are likely to be many vulnerable road users.
Local Transport Plans
Your local authority's plans for cycling will be described in its Local Transport Plan. Government advice to local authorities states that cycling should be an integral part of the plans and every authority should establish a local strategy for cycling. Local Authorities are expected to take steps to increase cycling in their Local Transport Plans.
It is an objective of the NCS to increase the amount of cycling to school. Cycling is therefore promoted through the Government's work on School Travel Plans. Cycling is discussed in two recent guides on school travel plans:
Travel Plans for Employers
The Government encourages employers to develop travel plans, aimed at reducing car use for travel to work and for travel on business. Cycling is an important part of most travel plans.
Everyone will benefit from increased cycling!!
- Health - cycling can improve health by lowering the risk of heart disease, shedding excess weight, and increasing fitness. Tests have shown that after 4 to 5 months of regular cycling, aerobic fitness improves by an average of 13 % and body fat falls by an average of two to three kg. Regular exercise reduces stress and contributes to mental well being
- Environment - increasing cycling benefits the environment by cutting CO2 emissions and reducing noise
- Congestion - promoting cycling can have benefits in reducing traffic congestion
- Education - the establishment of safer routes to schools and cycle training should increase awareness of road safety issues and improve road safety. Up to date knowledge of what schools, colleges and universities are doing to provide facilities for cyclists forms a valuable part of the overall picture
- Social Inclusion - safer cycle routes and more people using them can help build stronger communities
- Access to Employment - by making it easier for people to get to work by bicycle employers increase the potential labour force available to them Sustainable Tourism - The development of more widespread cycle routes will enhance access to the countryside and open up new opportunities for tourism. Rural economies will benefit from the increase in passing trade