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UK announces a bold vision to boost cycling

The UK government has announced a ‘cycling revolution’ in an effort tackle obesity and adapt to a COVID-19 world.

The government previously announced in May £2 billion in funding for cycling infrastructure and projects over the next five years and has now outlined its vision in a new policy statement.

The ‘bold vision’ recognises COVID-19 as a ‘once in a generation chance to accelerate active travel’ and a ‘unique opportunity to transform the role cycling and walking can play in our transport system, and get England moving differently’.

The plan involves making bike riding safer and more accessible by building thousands of miles of separated bike lanes.

It also includes an ambitious proposal for GPs to prescribe cycling to tackle obesity.

This comes as the government released findings that being overweight significantly increases the risk of illness or death from COVID-19.

The vision outlines four key themes:

  • Better streets for cycling and people – funding for connected, accessible, physically separated infrastructure
  • Cycling at the heart of transport, place making and health policy decision-making
  • Empowering and encouraging Local Authorities
  • Enabling people to cycle and protecting them when they do – cycle training, bike theft prevention, legal changes to protect vulnerable road users

The first investment kicked off this week with 50,000, £50 vouchers released to fix their bike in an effort to encourage people to get back on their bike.

This follows in the steps of France and Italy who have also implemented initiatives to make it easier to access a bike as they come out of lockdown.

The COVID pandemic continues to show that with will and resources positive change for people who ride bikes and the livability of our communities can happen fast.

As Australian governments grapple with the current COVID-19 outbreak, it’s not too late for decision makers to make meaningful change for people who ride, or want to ride.

Building for bikes is also proving to be an efficient and cost effective way to not only improve health outcomes, but create much-needed jobs and stimulate the economy.

We can’t let this once in a generation opportunity slip through fingers.

If you want to see Australia follow the example set by these world leading governments, share Bicycle Network's Pedalling to a Better Normal plan with your federal, state and local government decision makers.

Pedalling to a better normal plan

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