Chris Boardman MBE told MPs today we need clear national vision, measurable goals and funding to get more people cycling.

Boardman was among experts speaking at today’s fourth Get Britain Cycling evidence session, focussing on health and recreation, cycling to work and school, and the role of sport in inspiring cycling.

Speakers from NICE, Natural England, the Department of Culture Media and Sport and the Forestry Commission among others gave evidence to members of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.

1992 Olympic gold medallist Boardman said the summer’s sporting successes were an advert creating a demand for cycling, and now we needed to “keep that momentum.”

Boardman played a video (see below) of a cycle lane near his home, which includes a section of pavement, signs in the middle of the path and several road crossings, saying: “I think that signifies where we are at right now… it shows we haven’t got a vision of where we are trying to get to.”

He said people will do the easiest thing, and it needs to be easier for most people to take up cycling, adding 20 mph speed limits was a “no brainer” in making people feel safer.

Boardman was enthusiastic about the rise of sportives, which get people on their bikes from “couch to club” whether they aim to win or simply ride with their mates.

Meanwhile, health professionals agreed cycling and walking are good value solutions to the UK’s health problems.

Adrian Davis is currently the UK’s only transport and health professional funded by the NHS, working in Bristol City Council.

He says more councils and health authorities should work together in this way, describing co-benefits such as promoting cycling among school children, which helps kids’ concentration and improves school performance.

Around cycling to school and work Mark Brown, Head of Ride2Work at Evans Cycles, said the cycle to work scheme had brought huge numbers of new cyclists to the business and that women’s bikes are one of the fastest growing categories of the bike market.

He added businesses can do more, however, saying: “Secure bike parking, lockers and showers are fundamental reasons not enough people are cycling to work.”

Patrick Salmon, of Mountbatten School in Hampshire, says it is vital to get children cycling in primary school as into secondary school academic commitments reduce the take-up of Bikeability training.

A short journey from British Cycling on Vimeo.

Related links

Cycling experts present evidence to Parliament

What is ‘Get Britain Cycling’?

  • Will Refearn

    I live in Wirral and the Highways are a bunch of cowboy hot rodders. Little planning given to cycle paths,there are plenty of places where the paths can be isolated from motorists. Also more thought should be given to designing routes,I tried to get them involved with national specialist cycle groups which was treated with derision. Short ‘cycle lanes’ attracted Euromoney for non-cycle related projects

  • Mike

    Cyclists pedestrians are not important, not my view but surely that’s how all governments look at us (please prove it otherwise if you think I’m wrong) the only thing governments the world over are interested in is money and what makes it, CARS and all that come with them do, but cycles and walkers don’t or on a much smaller scale. How can we ever expect cars and people to co-exist in the same space when for the last 100 years maybe, car manufactures have never been controlled as far as the design of the car the performance of the engine is concerned, designers have, ever since I was a lad and I’ve noticed since learning to drive, have over the years made cars faster and faster, until we have a situation where everything is designed for speed, car and motorist, (again think about it and let me know if I’m wrong). Our government should be looking at how Holland plan their road systems out, it seems to work for them and anyone who has been to Holland will always say about the ease at which bikes get around with no problem with cars. I keep seeing pleas for 20 mph speed limits but when you have car makers making cars that accelerate from 0-60 in less time than you could text your friend (that you have just been run over) what do we expect, people(or 75% of them) I’m afraid will always drive to the limits of the car, rather than the conditions of the road. Is there an answer I don’t know, if we ask people to slow down when they are going past a school or a hospital and find that they won’t or find it hard to comply, so we build humps in the road which have little effect on the speed anyway, or not by where I live. I drive a car, but only when I have to I’ll get my bike out or walk (remember that, what our legs are for) and find it funny that the government wonders why we have an obese problem, I applaud Chris Boardman for bringing this matter to the attention of our government. But wish him all the luck in the world and I should point out, I’m a pessimist, so make me an optimist.

  • Andy

    Very good video of the problems we have on UK roads. The road shown in the video I ride down a lot on my travels. I just think its a last minute thought by the council to put a cycle lane in which really doesn’t do any think. The is more case of this madness on the Wirral. For example the a cycle path in a 30mph zone but not one when it turns 50mph. The government and councils should be looking at how to improve roads and do it correctly not a just an after thought. How can they do a ride to work scheme but not look after bike riders going to work. Well done Chris keep the good work up on trying to improve road safety.

  • James Wilson

    Regarding Chris Boardman’s SaferCycling Video. He made no comment about the moss clearly visible on the off road cycle paths, not a problem on a dry day as his video was recorded but a real danger if it rains. My main problem with these off road and along side the road cycle paths is that they are being added to presently because it is politically popular now but once they are built and laid then there is generally no maintenance ever carried out on them.

  • ian

    well done to Chris for giving support to something that has always been so blatantly obvious to cyclists. i hope it works Chris

  • Samuel G

    Good article, thankyou. Its great to see these issues at least being discussed at high level, lets hope it translates into action. Personally I would like to see 20mph limits being enforced properly, I read somewhere that it is the least well observed speed limit of all, the average speed of freely moving traffic being 28mph. I have never seen a speed camera in a 20mph zone. In other EU countries a 30km/h (18.6mph) urban speed limit is quite common, perhaps in the UK 15mph would be better (people might then actually drive at 20). I also hope the proposal to make the standard rural speed limit 40mph is implemented, in line with the EU standard of 60km/h (people would still do 50 of course). At the same time I hope planners don’t lose sight of the fact that roads (not just cycle lanes) are for cyclists too, not just motorists.

  • Alan Moffatt

    Should be pointed out that this cycle facility is not compulsory. If you feel confident taking your road space, there’s nothing to stop you continuing on the road; you have two legal choices – quicker with the cars or slower with a bit more assistance. Having said that, there’s no excuse for poor surfaces (for cycles or pedestrians) or for (what is not shown here exactly) the frequent requirement to give way at side roads. The obstructions on the path are more problematic – given that this is a retrospective facility, would we really want a lot of money spending on moving a massive road sign, when cycling round it is no more than irritating?

    It might have been more helpful if CB had looked at an ab initio road development, to see how planners were incorporating cycle facilities, rather than how they were trying to adapt an existing system.

  • Ken Evans

    Cycling as part of a schools “games” lesson would be helpful, similar to the Sky “GoRide” scheme.