Former Olympic and world champion Chris Boardman has slammed the British government’s proposals to invest less than £1 per person into the nation’s cycling infrastructure, which is “less than the cost of a cup of coffee”.
Boardman, who currently acts as British Cycling’s policy adviser, is addressing Members of Parliament today at the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling as they discuss the government’s draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
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Boardman’s comments were backed up by the 40 businesses and organisations that are part of the #ChooseCycling Network group, which would like to see much more invested in cycling – £10 per head.
“If I were presenting the government’s cycling investment strategy as a workable proposal for any of the businesses in the #ChooseCycling Network, I would be laughed out of the room,” Boardman said.
“It is simply not possible to make cycling the ‘natural choice’ for short journeys by investing less than £1 per head – less than the cost of a cup of coffee. As the government run the country, I’d hope they know this.”
The #ChooseCycling Network group has drawn up a three-point request to improve the cycling strategy:
Better places to cycle: meaning a programme of building segregated cycle lanes in towns and cities across Britain;
Smarter investment in cycling: by setting aside a greater proportion of the roads budget and budgets from related transport and infrastructure programmes;
Stronger leadership at national (Transport Secretary) and local level: to ensure cycling is integrated in all infrastructure and devolution programmes to normalise cycling as a means of transport.
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Boardman said: “The longer cycling gets treated as an afterthought or a charity case, the longer we are missing out on a unique opportunity to create a healthier, happier and more active nation.
“This is no longer just something that people who already ride bikes want to see happen, this is something that 70 per cent of people in Britain agree with and increasingly, as we have seen today, businesses across all sectors.”
The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group produced its ‘Get Britain Cycling‘ report in 2013, which recommended that the government invest £10 a head on cycling in Britain to make a ‘meaningful change’.