Friday, April 17, 2009

Create more bike-friendly streets by empowering councils

Councils should be given greater powers to create designated streets that favour cyclists over cars, a national inquiry has concluded.

'Active communities: cycling to a better quality of life' is the report of an inquiry held by the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) and Cycling England.

This report has found that transport regulations should be reviewed to give councils greater control over cycling routes to get more people out of their cars and onto their bikes.

Councils would be able to design the street to favour cyclists while also making it accessible for cars and pedestrians.

For every car driver converted to a bike, the UK economy saves around £400 a year through reduced medical bills, congestion and pollution, according to research conducted by Cycling England.

The inquiry report - downloadable as a PDF here - also calls for every public building to be an exemplar to encourage cycling, for example by implementing storage facilities and bike loan schemes.

LGiU Centre for Local Sustainability policy analyst Gemma Roberts said: "Councils should be given greater control over cycling routes to ensure more roads are made cycle friendly. We need to make it easier and safer for people to cycle.

"Local authorities need to take the lead and make cycling a priority in their communities," she said.

"But the efforts to promote cycling do not stop with the council. We also need the professional and political backing to invest more heavily in cycling so we can really tackle some of the wider issues communities face, such as obesity, climate change and congestion."

2 comments:

mike said...

This is such a great idea. Cyclists should be appreciated for their environmental and health contributions!

Karl McCracken (twitter: @karlonsea) said...

Yes please! I'd like to see more bike / pedestrian permeable streets as a way to let people know that all those 2 mile round trips by car could actually be achieved through other means.