Securing a future for sustained government investment in cycling and walking

Frankly, this is one of the main reasons I went into politics and am now seeking to become an MP. It’s  amendments to legislation such as this that can mark a step change in how we travel around the places we live on a daily basis and the knock-on effects on health, wellbeing, pollution and congestion.

The Infrastructure Bill, which will dictate the future direction and spending commitments for infrastructure once it becomes an Act, is nearing its conclusion. CTC, the national cycling charity, along with a number of leading transport groups, is demanding a change from the old ways of looking at transport infrastructure, as set out in the following statement:

One of the most important bills going through Parliament this year is approaching its conclusion. The Infrastructure Bill proposes a five year Roads Investment Strategy, but currently makes no similar commitment to long-term funding to vitally increase cycling and walking.


It is not without irony that this falls so soon after the latest 12 year study from Cambridge University found that inactivity is killing twice as many people as obesity. This is combined with the fact that inactivity costs the UK economy £20 billion every year, with one in six deaths linked to physical inactivity. We must act now and make cycling and walking easier to do every day.

This is why we are supporting an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill to include a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy – to provide the long-term commitment to funding that is so desperately needed to increase levels of cycling and walking for the health of our nation. We urge as many people to write to their MP as possible this week to ask them to put their name to this important amendment and help turn the tide of physical inactivity.

Our coalition supporting this amendment to the Infrastructure Bill is comprised of leading organisations in this area. Together we represent countless members of the public who are all clamouring for a Bill that reflects the importance of walking and cycling in the 21st century.

We need to support these amendments in any way that we can.

* Helen Flynn is an Executive Member of the LDEA. She is a former Parliamentary Candidate and Harrogate Borough Councillor and has served on the Federal Policy Committee and Federal Board. She has been a school governor in a variety of settings for 19 years and currently chairs a multi academy trust in the north of England.

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8 Comments

  • Well said, Helen Flynn and it is worth repeating —

    “… the latest 12 year study from Cambridge University found that inactivity is killing twice as many people as obesity.

    ….inactivity costs the UK economy £20 billion every year, with one in six deaths linked to physical inactivity…”

    Can I also repeat my request that government or industry or someone spends sufficient money on R+D to produce a cheap and readily available bicycle tyre that does not puncture.
    I think this would bring hundreds of thousands of otherwise neglected bicycles back into use.

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd Jan '15 - 12:55pm

    I fully support what has been said.

    @ John Tilley,
    I agree. There are many strategies that need to be employed if cycling is to be an available mode of transport for everyone.

    My grandchildrens’ bikes were an eye watering price, so there needs to be things like free bicycle exchanges. Bike hire hubs etc., as well as changes to infrastructure including lighting, secure safe bicycle parking at railways and other places , better cycle locks etc. There also need to be more training available for parents so that they can teach their children to cycle safety etc., etc.

    Cycling is low impact compared with running and easier on the joints. It is suitable for the young, the elderly and the disabled. In the past it had an image problem, as one prominent cyclist noted, cyclists used to be seen as a bit ‘nerdy’. It is particularly important to ensure that the image continues to improve to attract more women.

    My friends and family are passionate about the benefits of cycling (and walking), which not only has health benefits, it often gets us from A to B , in shorter time than other environment damaging modes of transport.

    The amendments to the bill are so important to any 21st century disease prevention strategy.

  • Kay Kirkham 22nd Jan '15 - 1:23pm

    Cycling is not a realistic means of transport for most people. I cycled a lot when I was younger but once you factor in hills, weather, shopping, children, availability of showers at the destination, leaflet-deliverer’s knee and so on, it simply doesn’t work even if the road safety issues were addressed. As a leisure pursuit for exercise it’s fine.

    Walking on the other hand is free and available to almost everyone. I would make pedestrian safety and the availability of public transport which gets people out of their cars ( and walking to the bus stop !) as a higher priority that cycling from A to B.

  • A Social Liberal 22nd Jan '15 - 4:22pm

    As someone who has cycled and walked between villages in the Dales throughout my childhood and has recently taken up cycling again. I can state catagorically that anyone using our road system to manage their fitness is taking their lives in their hands when doing so.

    Much better and safer that councils offer free gym-time for the people they represent

  • Helen Flynn’s excellent article is about not just cycling but walking as well.

    I love walking. It is by far the most satisfying and effective way on getting from A to B. It costs nothing, it is good for my physical health, it is also good for my mental health because it enables me to see and hear things which I would miss if I was encased in a bus or a train and rushing past.

    When I worked in central London I was always astonished by how people went on the tube almost by default rather than walking. Perhaps people take the Tube rather than walk because the iconic London Tube Map provides a sense of security for people who do not necessarily feel familiar with the streets.

    A regular trip for me when I was at work was from my office at Waterloo to meetings in Westminster. Many of my colleagues automatically took the Tube. I often pointed out that they probably walked just as far to go down into the bowels of Waterloo Tube Station and then up out through the labyrinthine chambers of Westminster Tune Station as they would if they just walked through the street market of Lower Marsh and then over Westminster Bridge. It was usually also quicker to walk and certainly more pleasant .

    I can understand people wanting to avoid ice, snow, rain etc and thus going by Tube or Bus. But I recommend people consider walking first because of all the obvious benefits.

  • Chris Burden 23rd Jan '15 - 1:49pm

    For those who think cycling has to be complicated and expensive, take a look at what we are doing here in Reading. We have the Reading Bicycle Kitchen where people can bring their bike to be serviced or repaired for a token amount while learning how to do it for themselves, next time.
    http://www.readingbicyclekitchen.org/
    Oh, and you can purchase a restored and refurbished bike also, for a minimal amount.

  • Jenny Barnes 23rd Jan '15 - 3:02pm

    In Holland, for some reason, cycling is indeed a realistic method of transport for most people – possibly because they have invested in safe, convenient infrastructure. Modal share is up to 50% in Holland, compared with around 2% in the UK. Training and encouragement clearly don’t work long term; segregated infrastructure does. We know what works; we just don’t do it.

  • Jenny Barnes 23rd Jan '15 - 3:03pm

    PS It’s not because Holland is flat. If that were enough, Norfolk would be a cycling paradise too.

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