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15:18, 11 Oct 2008 by Peter Robinson
Leighton Buzzard/Linslade Wins Cycle Infrastructure Funding

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced Bristol as the UK's first official Cycling City, and a further 11 Cycling Demonstration Towns across England: Blackpool, Cambridge, Chester, Colchester, Leighton Buzzard/Linslade, Shrewsbury, Southend on Sea, Southport with Ainsdale, Stoke, Woking and York.

The 12 towns have succeeded in winning a share of the record £100m investment package to pioneer innovative ways to increase cycling in their areas. Proposals include improving cycling infrastructure such as dedicated cycle lanes, increasing bike parking provision and cycle training and promoting the benefits of cycling. The aim is to encourage 2.5 million more adults and children to take up cycling, improve their fitness and beat the traffic.

Bristol wants to double the number of people cycling over the next three years, by:

  • creating the UK's first on-street bike rental network, modelled on the successful Paris scheme;
  • establishing a 're-cycling' scheme, providing free bikes to those in deprived communities;
  • building a state-of-the-art facility for cyclists in the city centre providing showers, bike parking and lockers so commuters can have a wash and brush up before starting work;
  • creating a dedicated cycleway to link the suburbs with the city centre opening up new, safer options for commuters who currently rely on their cars;
  • more than doubling the number of children receiving cycling training.

Ruth Kelly said: "The UK's first ever Cycling City and 11 new Cycling Demonstration Towns will pioneer new ways of encouraging people to get on their bikes. A quarter of journeys made every day by car are less than two miles. Cycling is an alternative that could bring real health benefits to millions of adults and children, as well as helping them save money and beat congestion. The first step in persuading people to leave their cars at home is to offer them a real choice. Providing a step change in cycling facilities, dedicated cycle lanes, more training and information will have a big impact on how people choose to travel. I look forward to seeing these towns and cities put their plans into action and urge other communities across the country to follow their lead."

Phillip Darnton, Chairman of Cycling England, added: "We have learnt from our European neighbours, such as the Netherlands, that increased and sustained investment is the key to getting more people enjoying the benefits of cycling. The funding that Bristol and the other 11 towns have been awarded is designed to create a real step change in levels of cycling, starting in 2008 and for years to come. Beyond well co-ordinated, consistent investment in cycling, and the introduction of policy measures to encourage it, cycling crucially needs determined and persistent high-level leadership. We are delighted that the Government has championed this and Cycling England's other projects which aim to increase national cycling levels by 20 per cent overall by 2012. "

22:03, 26 Jun 2008 by Alan Lawson


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