The UK Government will provide £2bn to create pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors within weeks as part of new funding to support safe transport during the coronavirus pandemic.
Vouchers will also be issued to help people pay for bike repairs and plans are being developed to make more bike fixing facilities available.
These attempts to increase the number of people able to complete journeys either on foot or by bike are hoped to help support road, bus and rail networks, with public transport capacity to set to be restricted amid social distancing measures.
The Government has also published fast-tracked statutory guidance, effective immediately, which will tell councils to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
More side streets may be closed to through traffic in order to create low-traffic neighbourhoods and reduce rat-running while maintaining access for vehicles.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “During this crisis, millions of people have discovered cycling – whether for exercise or as a means of safe, socially-distanced transport. While there is no change to the ‘stay at home’ message today, when the country does get back to work we need those people to stay on their bikes and be joined by many more.
“Otherwise, with public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.
“We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities.”
A campaign to encourage more people to cycle for their commute instead of public transport has also been launched. With Team Ineos’ Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas telling people to #GetPedalling.
“If ever there was a good time to get on your bike, it’s now,” said Ineos boss Dave Brailsford. “You will be helping take pressure off public transport. You will be looking after your health. You will be looking after the health of others and you will be helping the environment. Let’s all get pedalling and help Britain on the road to recovery.”