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Government announces cycle-proofing funding

New trunk road schemes that have a significant impact on cyclists, such as junction improvements or road widening are to be “cycle-proofed” so they can be navigated confidently by the average cyclist, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Up to £20M is to be set aside for the schemes intended to help cyclists at 14 locations on the trunk road network where major roads can prove an obstacle for journeys by bicycle.

The DfT said £5M will be invested in upgrades this year and a further £15M will be invested in 2015/16.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the commitment is intended to put Britain on a level-footing with countries known for higher levels of cycling such as Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands.

Currently, only 2% of trips in the UK are made by bicycle, compared with 14% in Germany and almost a third in The Netherlands.

“We have seen a significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the last few years,” said McLoughlin. “But cycling shouldn’t be confined to the capital.

“This 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.”

DfT’s funding is part of £148M injection in cycling between now and 2015 announced by prime minister David Cameron. Cities including Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich will share £77M, while the New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor will each share a slice of £17M funding for national parks.

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.

This includes removing bureaucracy that makes it hard to introduce 20 miles per hour speed restrictions or install mandatory cycle lanes and contraflow cycle lanes.

The government is also looking to remove the requirement for a lead-in lane for cyclists at boxed off, cycle-friendly advanced stop lines, making it easier for highway authorities to install advanced stop lines at junctions.

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

A feasibility study will also look into creating a new national cycleway broadly following the route of the High Speed 2 rail line from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

How the cyclist-friendly money breaks down

Greater Manchester

  • Department for Transport (DfT) funding £20M
  • Local contribution £11.1M

The funding will kick-start Velocity 2025, which will create a city-wide cycle network. Initially, this will involve a series of high quality cycle lanes that will lead from the city centre out to the M60. Cycle and Ride stations will allow cyclists to leave their bikes and swap onto Metrolink or a local rail service.

West Yorkshire

  • DfT funding £18.1M
  • Local contribution £11.2M

A new segregated Super Highway from east Leeds to Bradford City Centre will create new routes in Leeds City Centre to provide continuity to other radial routes. The Leeds-Liverpool Canal Tow Path will be upgraded. At 22km this will be the longest continuous cycleway in the North of England.


  • DfT funding £17M
  • Local contribution £7.3M

Birmingham aims to have cycling accounting for 5% of all journeys within 10 years and 10% within 20 years. Initiatives include 114km of new cycle routes, improvements to 94km of cycle routes, segregated cycle facilities, lower speed limits, off-road routes using canals and green spaces and secure parking.

West of England

  • DfT funding £7.8M
  • Local contribution £3.3M

The ambition is to increase cycling by 76% by 2016. Key to this is a new pedestrian and cycle promenade running east to west across Bristol following the route of the River Avon and terminating at Bristol Temple Meads station. The scheme will create five new or improved river crossings for cyclists.


  • DfT funding £5.7M
  • Local contribution £6M

Newcastle plans a network of seven major cycle routes across the city making the best use of existing infrastructure and linking in with the major improvements currently underway in the city centre. The aim is for 12% of all city journeys under 8km to be by cycling in the next 10 years.


  • DfT funding £4.1M
  • Local contribution £4.1M

In 10 years’ time, Cambridge aims to have 40% of all journeys in the city by bicycle, in line with pro-cycling European cities. The funding will create segregated cycle paths along some of Cambridge’s most used cycle routes as well as parking for 3,000 bicycles at Cambridge station.


  • DfT funding £3.7M
  • Local contribution £1.8M

The proposal involves a 13km cross-city route linking population centres to the locations of 51,500 existing and 12,500 planned jobs. Norwich’s aims to see the number of adults cycling once a week at 44% and those cycling to work to 15% by 2023.


  • DfT funding £835,000
  • Local contribution £580,000

The scheme will remove one of the main barriers to cycling into and out of Oxford city centre, making The Plain roundabout safer and more attractive for both cyclists and pedestrians. The Plain roundabout is a busy five-arm roundabout with a high level of bus traffic and a history of cyclist casualties.

Peak District

  • DfT funding £5M
  • Local contribution £2.5M

The scheme provides four new routes for traffic free cycling in the Peak District. The programme aims to target public health in the cities that connect to the National Park.


  • DfT funding £4.4M
  • Local contribution £3.0M

The funding will deliver major improvements to 150km of cycleways, with a further 140km benefiting from smaller upgrades such as improved signage. The focus of the scheme is new family-friendly routes to and through the park.

South Downs

  • DfT funding £3.8M
  • Local contribution £1.3M

The scheme will focus on improving access to the National Park from major rail stations. Some 55km of new routes will be built across England’s most visited and densely populated National Park.

New Forest

  • DfT funding £3.6M
  • Local contribution £2.2M

The scheme focuses on a new network of cycle docking stations allow cycling between attractions as well as transport hubs. It also provides a family cycling centre at Brockenhurst station.


The feasibility study into a cycle path broadly following the HS2 route will look into how existing footpaths or cycle tracks could be joined up or upgraded to create a single route between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester.

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