Hundreds of cyclists expected to take part in Manchester protest, coinciding with Labour Party conference

A space for cycling protest ride is planned in Manchester on Monday September 22, coinciding with the Labour Party conference, where hundreds of cyclists and some local MPs will call for continuous cycling funding in the party’s manifesto.

Although Manchester is spending £32 million of government and local transport money on cycling until March 2015, Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign (GMCC) says only 40% of the city’s residents are receiving the £10 per head cycle funding considered a minimum by cycle campaigners.

Copies of a petition calling for safer routes on busy roads and the reduction of traffic volumes and speeds on smaller roads, will be handed to a Labour MP, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester.

Jonathan Fingland, GMCC Chair and ride organiser, said ongoing funding is key. “40% of Greater Manchester’s residents are currently receiving the investment level of £10 per person thanks to the VéloCity2025 project funded by the Government’s Cycle City Ambition scheme. We need to ensure this initial investment is extended to cover all of Greater Manchester and the full duration of the project, until 2025,” he said.

“Many people want to cycle but currently don’t – we’re campaigning for safe space for cycling so everyone has the opportunity to use this healthy form of transport for their local journeys.”

He adds the fact government money must be spent by March 2015 has affected the quality of the city’s new cycle routes.

“Unfortunately some of the proposals we have seen so far include narrow unprotected cycle lanes and shared use footways. There’s seven schemes and the one that goes through the university area is the only one that comes close to the level of ambition we are hoping for”.

“The fact that the funding is not continuous means that the local authority are limited in what they can do.”

In August 2013 Manchester was awarded £20m from government towards its VeloCity 2025 aspiration for a 300% increase in cycling by 2025.

A Transport for Greater Manchester spokesperson said they have secured some funding for 2015/16 including £5m of Local Sustainable Transport Funding, “a significant proportion” of which will go towards cycle support activities, but added continuous funding is vital to increase cycling levels.

The spokesperson said: “Longer term we anticipate that the government will continue to make available additional funds which will allow us to introduce further cycling measures.

“We have made the point to central government (DfT) that the importance of continuous funding for the Cycle Cities is vital over the longer term, if significant growth in the level of cycling is to be secured.”

Riders will gather from 6pm on Monday in All Saints Park to set off at 6.30pm, pausing at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall at 7.15pm for photos.

Birmingham’s cycle campaign, Push Bikes, is holding a space for cycling on September 29 to coincide with the Conservative party conference. The ride will meet 6pm at Victoria Square, to set off at 6.30pm.