A “great Christmas present for cyclists” – that is the reaction from the TTC Group after the Government announced a £214 million investment to help the UK become "a cycling nation."
Cycle Experience, part of the TTC Group, welcomed the biggest single investment in cycling from the Government with the aim of making it easier and safer to cycle in the UK.
A “lost generation” of cyclists – mums and dads who had never cycled – were also being encouraged to get back on their bikes.“
The announcement is a much welcomed Christmas present for cycling particularly for those cities where the funding is focused,” said Nick Moon, MD of Cycle Experience, part of the TTC Group, a UK leader in road safety education.
“The real hope for the future is that funding for cycling is truly national and will allow all cities and towns to benefit from investment in cycling initiatives and the growth of a national cycling culture.”
The Government has invested a total of £588m into cycling over the past four years. The latest cash boost includes £114m to run the Cycling Ambition Cities Programme for the next three years in Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Oxford to accelerate their development of local cycling networks, increase protection for cyclists at junctions and traffic hot spots and help prevent accidents.
Another £100m will improve conditions for cyclists and walkers on Britain's busiest roads The government has also launched two new initiatives to help inspire the new generation of cyclists and make it even easier for people to take up cycling.
One involves retailers reconditioning and donating bikes and helmets to primary schoolchildren in disadvantaged areas.
“This has to be the right thing to do to ensure any cycling initiatives are fully inclusive to all groups,” said Nick, with Cycle Experience already delivering a number of bike recycling projects.
A Bikeability Plus pilot to support the existing government funded Bikeability cycle training programme will also encourage more children and parents to cycle to school. Cycle Experience, responsible for a pilot scheme in Wokingham, said that Bikeability Plus equips young cyclists with additional skills including the ability to maintain their own bikes.
“If a child can’t repair a puncture then the likelihood is that it will be back in the shed and all the cycling efforts are wasted.” The programmes are also aimed at giving parents the skills to ride with their children and to undertake routine maintenance tasks.
There was a “lost generation of cyclists” who were now parents and had never cycled, he said. “We need to train both parents and their children to cycle safely and to be able to maintain their bikes.”
If the pilot schemes are a success it will mean access to additional funding for local authorities to introduce the Bikeability Plus programme.
Cycle Experience is an accredited Bikeability scheme and Instructor Training Provider with a team of regional co-ordinators across the UK. It is part of the TTC Group, which educates more than 300,000 drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians each year to reduce road casualties.
Deputy PM Nick Clegg, who announced the Government investment, said he wanted to bring cycling “down from the Alps” and onto British streets.
“The inspiration and legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France starting in Yorkshire this year has started a revolution in cycling for everyone, not just in velodromes, not necessarily in lycra, but for going to school or to work or to the shops,” he said.
“I’m committed to helping our dream of becoming a cycling nation, similar to places like Denmark and the Netherlands, become a reality.
“The rewards could be massive. Billions of pounds in savings for the NHS, less pollution and congestion, and a happier and safer population.
The Government has put the money down, now we need the public and local authorities to jump on their bikes and get us to the finish line.”
For more information visit www.cycleexperience.com or call the TTC Group on 0845 434 8451.