If you want a sensible, no-nonsense view of the state cycling in Britain, then Chris Boardman’s your man.
Bike rider, bike maker, TV commentator and now British Cycling’s policy adviser, there’s never a dull moment for this former Olympic champ.
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“Inspiring people to get on bikes is one thing but the fact is that cycling has been designed out of our towns and cities and we urgently need to put this right,” he said at the recent launch of the Headrow cycling redevelopment in Leeds.
“Millions of people in Britain say they want to cycle but they are put off due to safety fears. We cannot pretend that this is going to miraculously change. National government need to face up to some hard truths and commit adequate investment. We are not asking for more money but for a tiny fraction of the existing provision to be targeted as part of a long-term plan to remodel our urban landscapes,” he argues.
Right on cue, Manchester’s £350,000 scheme to get more people cycling is being funded from the city’s health budget, a growing trend since public health was brought under the local authorities remit.
It was also a busy week in the capital with improvements to two of London’s worst roundabouts. Major works are planned at the Elephant and Castle and in Wandsworth.
The only snag is that both designs will struggle to cope with even the present number of riders at these junctions with cyclists already making up a third of traffic in Wandsworth.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly