Prime Minister Boris Johnson says ‘this should be a new golden age for cycling’
Looking ahead to life after lockdown, cycling could be shifted to the top of the agenda
Prime Minister Boris Johnson says “this should be a new golden age for cycling” as the UK looks ahead to life after lockdown.
Cycling could become a high priority for the government as the nation slowly begins to transition back to normal in the coming weeks and months, following the on-going coronavirus pandemic.
With public transport heavily reduced across the country and social distancing measures still in place, more people could turn to cycling for transport as the country returns to work.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament on Wednesday (May 6), Johnson said: "A crucial part of our success now in getting transport to run safely. We'll be running a bigger and more expansive tube service, so that people can observe social distancing we will certainly be working with Mayor [of London, Sadiq Khan] to try to achieve that.
"There must be mitigations to help people who cannot use mass transit and there'll be a huge amount of planning going into helping people to get to work, other than by mass transit.
“This should be a new golden age for cycling.”
The Prime Minister spoke as the UK’s trade body for the cycle industry called on the government to take action to promote cycling.
The Bicycle Association approached the government with a bold package of proposals to keep the country moving as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.
With public transport use expected to be down, we could see a dramatic rise in drives on the road unless cycling is promoted as an alternative, the Bicycle Association has said.
Building pop-up bike lanes, a zero VAT “holiday” for all bikes, e-bikes and cycle repairs, and subsidies for repairs are among the proposals being put to the government.
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The BA is suggesting that the government introduce a £250 grant for anyone buying an e-bike, as well as a £50 bike repair voucher as has been introduced in France.
Extending the Cycle to Work Scheme, offering refresher cycling courses for adults and helping businesses pay for secure cycle parking would all help get people on bikes, the organisation said.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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