Assembly Members have voted in favour of plans to radically reform support for cyclists and walkers, to encourage more healthy lifestyles. The new law is said to be a world first.
It would force local authorities to consider the needs of both walkers and those on bikes as they plan transport networks. The Active Travel (Wales) Act also calls on Welsh Ministers and Councils to promote active travel and provide annual updates to the Welsh Assembly.
Jane Lorimer, National Director of Sustrans Cymru, said “The passing of this legislation shows that Wales’ leadership is serious about making walking and cycling the normal choice for more of our everyday shorter journeys."
A charity that promotes walking, cycling and public transport says the new Active Travel Bill has the potential to be the "most effective public health initiative since the smoking ban."
Sustrans Cymru first suggested the new law in a petition to the Assembly six years ago.
It says that the networks of new routes created by the Bill will play a major role in persuading people out of their cars for shorter journeys but what is also needed are programs that will help people to take advantage of the routes.
The evidence shows that the easiest way for most people to get more exercise is to build it into their daily routine, but even though most everyday journeys are short, many of us still choose to take the car; in fact 20% of our car journeys are less than one mile.
The Active Travel Bill aims to get more people walking and cycling for short local trips as part of tackling the obesity epidemic and reducing congestion.