Cycling and walking advocates from England and Scotland have called for minimum quality standards for infrastructure to prevent public money being wasted on the ineffective ‘gesture’ of paint-only cycle lanes.
Campaigners including London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman and his Greater Manchester counterpart, Chris Boardman, set out five demands in a letter to transport secretary Chris Grayling.
Their asks included commitments to both long-term devolved funding and minimum quality levels, the local retention of revenue from fixed penalty notices, keeping road traffic regulations under review, and for transport investment decisions to ‘account for the true cost of car use to society.’
In the letter, the commissioners state that across Britain, ‘hundreds of millions of pounds have been spent and continue to be spent on road “improvement” projects which involve only painted cycle lanes as a gesture towards catering for cycling, which evidence now confirms is insufficient to make people feel safer’.
They added: ‘In fact, recent studies show it can actually make people less safe.’
Mr Boardman said: ‘It’s tragic that hundreds of millions of pounds of government money have been spent on sub-standard cycling and walking infrastructure. If national government were to adopt these asks we’d be on a winning streak and could truly transform Britain’s towns and cities, not to mention massively improving air quality and health.
‘We need to make decisions based on evidence and we’ve got compounding evidence that this is the right thing to do for our society. It’s not a quick win, it’s a 10-20 year evolution, but we can’t afford not to do this and we simply cannot go on as we are. This is a no brainer.’
The letter’s other signatories are Lee Craigie, active nation commissioner for Scotland; Simon O’ Brien, Liverpool’s cycling champion; Shanaze Reade West Midlands cycling ambassador; Liam Robinson, chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Committee; and Dame Sarah Storey, active travel commissioner for the Sheffield City Region.