Government releases £175m for cycling and walking as insurer says claims for crashes involving cyclists up 50 per cent

Authorities are being given more cash to create space for cycling and walking 

The government has released £175million for cycling and walking to help more people get around without the car.

News comes as a motor insurance company has reported a 50 per cent increase in claims for crashes involving cyclists during lockdown. 

On Friday morning (November 13), the Department for Transport announced it would hand a further  £175m to councils in England to created safe spaces for cyclists and walkers.

The cash is part of the £2billion fund the government announced in May, which was aimed to get more people out of their cars as the UK continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We want to do everything we can to make it easy for people to include some activity in their daily routines – whether that’s cycling to work or walking safely to school.

“We can see the public’s strong appetite for greener and more active travel, and this funding will help ensure the right infrastructure is in place to build truly active neighbourhoods.” 

The DfT says independent surveys have revealed that 65 per cent of people across England support more road space being reallocated for cycling and walking, while 78 per cent support measures to reduce traffic in their area.

Funding can be used by councils to establish School Streets – where roads around schools are closed to motorists during school times – Low Traffic Neighbourhoods aimed at closing rat runs, segregated cycle lanes and pedestrian improvements. 

The government also said these schemes must be properly consulted on to avoid conflict with residents opposed to reducing traffic, as has happened in a minority of schemes implemented since lockdown.


  


This announcement comes as motoring insurer More Than released statistics revealing claims involving cyclists, pedestrians and motorists are up 50 per cent since lockdown. 

According the insurer, crashes involving cyclists usually account for 10 per cent of motoring claims, that has grown to 15 per cent since March.  

The governing is currently updating the Highway Code to make the roads safer for vulnerable road users like cyclists and walkers, but More Than says the changes should go further.

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Head of car insurance at the company Gareth Davies said: “While we welcome the step towards a safer Highway Code for all road users, the proposed changes should go further to better protect cyclists and drivers.

“The upsurge in cyclists on the road over the lockdown periods has been great to see as people discover their local areas and become more physically active. But I’m also concerned about the increase we’ve seen in car accidents involving cyclists.

“There is a real need for drivers to be more careful to avoid collisions with cyclists given the injury this can cause, and likewise there are steps cyclists can take to improve safety. We really don’t want to see cyclists getting injured, and this review of the Highway Code presents an opportunity to strengthen the rules for both drivers and cyclists to try and reduce accidents.”