November 2019 - Common Myths About Investment in Walking and Cycling Busted By Research Report

New research by Sustrans uncovers the truth behind some common cycling myths, by examining the mounting body of evidence showing the many health, environmental and economic benefits of walking and cycling. Public or political opposition can act as a barrier to changing the environment to create spaces that help people to walk and cycle. The opposition is often caused by misconceptions about the consequences of reallocating road space or how to get the most economic benefit from transport spending.

The report dispels a number of myths including:

  • There is no public support for investment in cycling infrastructure or giving more road space to cycles.
  • Road space reallocation to bicycles will bring cities to a grinding halt.
  • Removing car parking spaces will harm the local economy.

Our streets are too narrow to accommodate cycle lanes.

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October 2019 - Multimillion Pound Government Funding Boost for Children’s Cycle Training

More schoolchildren across England will now learn essential cycling skills thanks to a £13 million government investment in Bikeability, following a record year for the cycle training programme. Bikeability training is offered at 3 levels based on a child’s age and experience. Training starts with basic bike-handling skills in a traffic-free, controlled environment and builds to managing a variety of traffic conditions on different types of roads.

Around 400,000 children had completed the scheme in the year up to April 2019 while the total number trained since Bikeability was launched in 2006 has now reached three million. The funding will ensure the programme is able to continue for another year. This means approximately 50% of primary schools across England will be able to access the programme.

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October 2019 - “Double Investment in Active Travel Now Not Tomorrow,” Say Walking and Cycling Groups

The Walking and Cycling Alliance, made up of the Bicycle Association, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans, wants funding for active travel infrastructure and programmes to increase to £17 per person annually immediately, and £34 per person by 2025. Current funding for cycling and walking is estimated at £7 per person in England, equating to a little over 2% of total transport spending.

As laid out in its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in England, the Government has targets of doubling the levels of cycling and raising the proportion of children walking to school. To meet this, the Alliance says, transport spending on active travel must immediately increase to 5% of total transport spending, increasing to 10% over the next five years.

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October 2019 - Children Who Walk to School are More Aware of the Negative Impacts of Motor Traffic

Children who walk to school are more engaged with their streets and aware of the impact of cars than those who don’t, suggests new research. Living Streets commissioned the research in which children were asked what would make a good walk to school. The respondents that were consistently more likely to identify improvements were the ones who walk to school. Of those who answered:

  • If cars were not allowed to wait/park by the school: 74% currently walk to school
  • If cars on the roads drove slower: 67% walk to school
  • Fewer cars/less traffic: 67% walk to school
  • If cars were not allowed to park on the pavement: 71% walk to school
  • If the air was cleaner: 65% walk to school.

The research also asked questions around the role of walking to school in fighting the climate emergency. Road transport is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, emitting 125 million tonnes of CO2 every year. This represents 27% of the overall amount of greenhouse gases emitted.

The World Health Organization recommends walking to school as a primary way for people to reduce their carbon emissions. At morning peak, one in four cars on the road are on the school run – responsible for generating half a million tonnes of CO2 per year.

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September 2019- Nine out of 10 parents want traffic-free roads outside schools

New figures show parents and residents across Great Britain support closing streets to cars outside school gates during drop off and pick up times. A recent survey, carried out by Sustrans, has revealed that 90% of parents and residents would support closing streets to cars more regularly outside schools.

Out of 954 respondents, three quarters (75%) were worried about the health impacts of exhaust fumes on pupils during school drop off and pick up times. Seventy-two percent of the respondents agreed that where road closures had taken place, the street felt safer to use.

Aside from parents and residents, 3,434 pupils were asked to give their thoughts on air quality. Nearly half (45%) of the pupils surveyed said they were worried about levels of air pollution at their school.

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September 2019- RSPH Calls for Better Routes Home from School to Tackle Childhood Obesity

A  new report outlines a raft of measures aimed at overhauling the after-school street environment for children in the UK. Routing Out Childhood Obesity, a report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), found that despite wider efforts to support childrens’ healthy eating in school and at home, the world they experience between the school gates and the front door can still have a disproportionate effect on diet and lifestyle.

With nine children in every Year 6 class overweight or obese, childhood obesity in the UK poses a serious, yet fixable, public health challenge. Backed up by widespread public support, this report identifies four key aspects of the street environment that should be disrupted to give children a healthier

  • Addressing the junk food offer around schools
  • Building better places to go
  • Transforming active travel
  • Limiting the reach of junk food adverts

The full report and recommendations are based on research done in partnership with urban health foundation Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, which included mapping the street environments of Lambeth and Southwark to gauge their impact on childhood obesity, and a series of interviews and focus groups with school children from the boroughs.

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December 2018 - New Projects to Improve Access and Safety on National Cycle Network Underway

Sustrans has started an overhaul of the National Cycle Network with new projects to open up walking and cycling to everyone, including children, wheelchair users and the less physically active.

The projects are a result of the first ever review and an independent audit of the 16,575-mile Network, published in November 2018. ThePaths for Everyone report classified 54% of the Network as 'good' or 'very good' and unveiled a long-term plan to make it traffic-free and tackle physical problems. These include poor surfaces and barriers that prevent access for many people, particularly those with adaptive bikes, wheelchairs or prams.

Among the key measures to improve the Network are 55 'activation projects' which Sustrans aims to deliver in partnership with local authorities and other landowners across the UK. These range from improving signage, to removing unnecessary barriers and creating new traffic-free sections. The projects are to be finalised by 2023, at a cost of approximately £60 million.

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December 2018 - Those on Two Wheels 63 Times More Likely to Be Killed or Seriously Injured than Car Drivers

Analysis by Brake, the road safety charity, has found that, on average, those on two wheels face 63 times higher risk of being killed or seriously injured on British roads, per mile travelled, than car drivers. Brake is calling for drivers to be ‘Bike Smart’ by slowing down, taking care to look properly at junctions and taking care to avoid car dooring.

Brake’s analysis has highlighted the vulnerability of those on two wheels. Cyclists and motorcyclists account for nearly 4 in 10 of all deaths and serious injuries on British roads, a total of 9,740 in 2017 or an average of one bike death or serious injury every hour. Bike deaths also make up more than a quarter of all British road deaths, with a total of 101 cyclist deaths and 349 motorcyclist deaths in 2017.

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December 2018 - Two Year Action Plan to Keep People Safe on the Roads

Measures to combat road rage, encourage more mutual respect between road users and protect the vulnerable have been released in a two year action plan to improve road safety, from the Department for Transport.

Councils will be given powers to tackle dangerous parking in mandatory cycle lanes, and will also be encouraged to spend around 15% of their local transport infrastructure funding on walking and cycling.

The Department for Transport will appoint a new cycling and walking champion, to ensure new policies meet the needs of road users across the UK, and will host a new 2019 Bikeability Summit encouraging businesses to promote cycling and walking schemes to their employees.

The action plan will also assess whether insurance companies could offer discounts to drivers and motorcyclists who have passed Bikeability training. The DfT will work closely with courier companies to explore incentives for drivers who undergo training in driving safely alongside cyclists, pedestrians and horse-riders.

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November 2017 - Changes in Commuting Behaviour

A new report by the Department for Transport has been released showing how commuting behaviour has changed between 1988 and 2015. The changes are driven by changes in working patterns and travel behaviour.

Since the late 1980s there has been a downward trend in the number of commuting trips from 7.1 journeys per worker per week in 1988/92 to 5.7 in 2013/14.

More than half (56% in 2013/14) of commuting journeys are made by car as a driver. This proportion was stable through to 2008, after which it decreased by several percentage points.

Cycling to work has increased in London, but the trends elsewhere have been mixed.

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August 2017 - Active Travel Toolkit

An Active Travel Toolbox has been launched by Sustrans to help local authorities and their partners make the case for, and improve walking and cycling schemes.

The free toolbox, which includes guides, resources, tools and case studies, is organised into three areas, which can be used for forecasting the impact of planned interventions:

  1. The Infrastructure Impact Tool - estimates the impact of investments in specific types of cycling infrastructure.
  2. The Recreational Expenditure Model - estimates the economic benefit of recreational cycling in terms of expenditure in the local economy.
  3. The Strategic Investment Tool - aids understanding around the impact and cost of multi-intervention investment.

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June 2016 - The Government's Cycling Revolution: Stuck in First Gear

cycling

Parliamentarians call for more investment and more ambitious cycling targets

A report on the current state of cycling in Britain calls for 10 per cent of all journeys in Britain to be by bike by 2025 and a minimum investment of £10 per person per year, rising to £20 per person.

The report of the influential All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) also calls for a commitment to improve enforcement of traffic laws.

The group’s report, published today (8th June) follows an evidence session in May with the Minister for cycling, and representatives from cycling organisations and business.

The Prime Minister expressed his intention to start a “cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists” in August 2013, following the publication of the APPCG’s ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.

The APPCG’s recent evidence session and subsequent report, examined the extent to which the Government’s draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) will be the catalyst to start the revolution.

The APPCG’s Recommendations to strengthen the CWIS are:

  • Strong ambition to see a cycling revolution
  • Greater investment in cycling
  • Clear direction that cycling is a national priority
  • Robust measures to gauge progress nationally and locally
  • Improving quality of cycle infrastructure design
  • Deregulation of street design
  • An updated Highway Code
  • Action to improve enforcement of traffic laws

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham (Con) and Co-Chair of the group, said: ‘Cycling has huge advantages – it is healthy, efficient, reliable, green and fun. When more people cycle, society benefits.’

‘It is high time we kick-started a true cycling revolution, one that reaches beyond the lycra brigade and benefits all parts of society – particularly women and children.’

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth (Lab) and Co-Chair of the group said: ‘The real test of whether something is taken seriously in Government is who leads on it – and that means the Prime Minister has to take that lead and follow through on his pledge to create a cycling revolution’

‘We can achieve similar levels of cycling to our European neighbours, if there is the political will up and down the country to do this. There are good examples of better conditions for cycling around the country, but it must not be a postcode lottery’

Article from All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group website