Olympians call for ‘everyday cycling’ investment in UK

Olympians call for ‘everyday cycling’ investment in UK


Some of Britain’s top cyclists have written to Prime Minister Theresa May calling for the authorities to create “a heritage of regular cycling”.

The Department for Transport said investment had tripled since 2010.

Team GB enjoyed Olympics and topped the cycling medal table for the third matches in a row.

Downing Street has since suggested there would be “no limit” to the amount of honours given to Olympic heroes.

But signatories – including Joanna Rowsell Shand, Mark Cavendish, Becky James and Sir Chris Hoy – said the best means to indicate their accomplishments would be to put money into cycling.

A “lack of direction” has kept cycling as a mode of transport “in the slow lane”, they said.

Cycling “does not enjoy the authorities investment or political leadership given to roads, railroad or air travel,” the letter added.

The letter called for 5% of the government’s transportation spending to go on cycling, saying this was the “only way” to give it “the priority it deserves”.

“Investment in cycling as a form of conveyance isn’t purely an investment in cycle lanes,” it said.

“It’s an investment that will pay off for the country’s health, wealth, transportation infrastructure and the vibrancy of our towns and cities. It has the added advantage of just making it simpler for average families to get to work and get to school.

“Our athletes have inspired the nation and today we encourage the authorities to take cycling seriously as a transportation alternative for everyone.”

Elinor Barker, Chris Boardman, Owain Doull and Katy Marchant also signed the letter.

Boardman, a former Olympic champion who is now British Cycling’s policy adviser, said cycling “is not just a sport”, but a means for folks to get to school and to the stores.

He described her death as “needless” and called for “protected spaces” not mixed in with fast-moving traffic.

In March, the government unveiled proposals to encourage people to cycle and walk more in England.

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy includes the aspiration of doubling the amount of individuals using bikes by 2025.

The government is presently considering feedback on the draft plan.

The Department for Transport said it was spending £300m on cycling backing – along with a further £500m for infrastructure in local communities.

“The number of people deciding to get about by bike has grown over recent years and, following the achievement of our Rio Olympians, we should see this trend continue,” a spokesman said.