Cycling in my city: Manchester

CW speaks with Vincent Walsh of Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign about a £20m Cycling City Ambition Grant

Cycling in Greater Manchester received a major boost in August last year when the conurbation was awarded a £20m Cycling City Ambition Grant.

Currently only two per cent of journeys are made by bike but the Vélocity 2025 ( strategy aims to increase that figure to 10 per cent over the next 12 years. Transport for Greater Manchester recognised the role of local campaigners in supporting the bid and encouraging our 10 district councils to support these levels of investment (at £10 per head) beyond 2015.

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In September the Tory Party Conference came to Manchester. Delegates were welcomed by 500 cyclists filling the city streets demanding #space4cycling, inspired by the example of our comrades in London surrounding parliament on the night the Get Britain Cycling report was debated.

Here up north we are good at prising cash out of central government. DfT Sustainable Transport money enables all adults in Greater Manchester to benefit from free Bikeability training (the same as children receive at school). The Local Sustainable Transport Fund also funded three Cycle 
Hubs, with another 
eight planned across 
the conurbation.

Most cyclists agree on the importance of lower traffic speeds (a default 20mph residential limit is being piloted in Manchester) but there is less consensus on segregation. In November 2012 a prestigious local conference Love Cycling – Go Dutch attracted many of our councillors and planners. A proposed bus priority scheme through the university district gave hope to the vision of Dutch-style lanes on the busiest cycle route in the region.

We have been energised by these developments and membership of the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign is up by 50 per cent in 12 months. The more we are, the more we can do.

This article was first published in the January 9 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!