1. ITV Report

Cities to become more cycle friendly

Cyclist on a busy road in Cambridge Photo: PA

A big cash injection and a nationwide drive to promote cycling in cities and national parks has been announced by the Prime Minister.

The initiative includes plans to make roads safer for those on two wheels and means a number of English cities will get Government money for cycling schemes.

A total of £77 million will be divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich.

Exploring The Backs in Cambridge by bike Credit: PA

The announcement includes a commitment from the Government to cut red tape that can stifle cycle-friendly road design and to encourage changes to the way roads are built or altered.

Councils will be expected to up their game to deliver infrastructure that takes cycling into account from the design stage.

Mr Cameron said: "Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar.

"Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists."

He went on: "This Government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up and business, local government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this."

New trunk road schemes that have a significant impact on cyclists, such as junction improvements or road-widening, will be 'cycle-proofed' so they can be navigated confidently by the average cyclist.

This commitment to improved cycling facilities is intended to put Britain on a level-footing with countries known for higher levels of cycling like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.

A cyclist rides through an avenue of trees along Jesus Green in Cambridge Credit: PA

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "We have seen a significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the last few years. But cycling shouldn't be confined to the capital.

"Today's announcement shows we are absolutely committed to boosting cycling in cities and the countryside across the whole of England. I want to help open up cycling to more people and these measures to make cycling safer on our roads are an important part of that."

All of the cities receiving funding have either already implemented, or are looking to expand, the network of 20mph zones through the cycle funding, with Norfolk** and Cambridge** looking to introduce extensive area-wide 20mph schemes. Similar work has been done to make it easier to introduce 40mph limits in rural areas.

Malcolm Shepherd, chief executive of sustainable transport charity Sustrans, said: "This is fantastic news for those living in the successful cities. Getting about by bike for everyday journeys could become a reality for people of all ages and abilities in those areas, and we warmly welcome this initiative.

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