Huge cycling investment aims to ‘help people use cars less’

Highway Code: Commentators debate changes to rules

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Local authorities will benefit from skills training and a boost to green jobs thanks to a £32.9million scheme launched today as millions are encouraged to take up healthy habits in the new year and use their cars less. This will enable them to develop thousands of well thought-through local walking and cycling schemes, co-created by the communities who will use them.

As people across the country are looking to kickstart the year with healthy resolutions, the Government expects to see millions shake up the way they travel. 

The investment will help local authorities in England design, develop and consult on high-quality active travel schemes that work for residents and consider the local road network. 

These can include new school safety zones to encourage active travel, improved walking and cycling infrastructure on local high streets as well as new cycle and wheelchair paths.  

Jesse Norman, Active Travel Minister, praised the investment, saying it will help walking and cycling become an “attractive choice” for many people.

The MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, said: “Leaving the car and walking and cycling instead is an easy way to get fit, save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

“Better designed schemes, which take into account the views of local people will help deliver improvements that have widespread local support.

“Skills training and local community engagement will help local authorities to make active travel an attractive choice for getting around.”

The measures aim to get more people of all groups walking and cycling and help to address the barriers that exist. 

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Surveys show the number one issue putting women off cycling is how safe they feel on the roads with 79 percent of women supporting more protected cycle lanes being built. 

As a result, safety will be the major focus for the new designs and routes to encourage the greatest number of people to be involved.

Cycling UK has estimated that if people cycled short journeys, they would save an average of £126 per year in fuel costs alone and would burn hundreds of extra calories each week.  

Xavier Brice, Chief Executive Officer of Sustrans, the charity that makes it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle, said he hoped the move would lead to fewer cars on the road.

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He added: “Sustrans is pleased to see this investment in training and community engagement which will ultimately lead to high-quality infrastructure developments across England that help people choose to use their cars less.

“This funding is crucial in ensuring that travelling actively is a safe and accessible option for all, particularly as we work towards the Government’s goal of 50 percent of all journeys in towns and cities being walked or cycled by 2030.

“We’re looking forward to seeing ambitious plans being brought to life and continuing our work to support our local authorities in doing so.”

As well as enabling local councils to hire and retain skilled professionals, the investment will deliver specialised training, driving up skills and ensuring consistent, high-quality schemes are set up across England to give people truly attractive active travel choices.

Highway Code changes introduced last January were designed to help road users navigate in the safest possible way.

This included a “hierarchy of road users” which ensured quicker or heavier modes of travel have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others on the road.

Cyclists also received fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible. 

They can also ride two abreast, as has always been the case and which can be safer in large groups or with children. However, they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.

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