The Times, September 1 2016,
Team GB’s world-beating cyclists from the Rio Olympics have written to Theresa May to demand that 5 per cent of the transport budget be spent on cycle lanes on Britain’s roads.
Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s most decorated Olympians with six gold medals apiece, have signed the letter, along with Laura Trott, Britain’s most decorated woman Olympian.
Other signatories include Joanna Rowsell Shand, Elinor Barker and Owain Doull, who won team pursuit golds in Rio; Mark Cavendish, who won silver in the omnium; Rebecca James, who took silver in the keirin and the sprint; Katy Marchant, who won bronze in the sprint; and Chris Boardman, a gold medallist in 1992 and policy director of British Cycling.
Budgets for bikes
- £450 million Minimum annual budget for cycling in England outside London recommended by a parliamentary inquiry, the Commons transport committee and the Times campaign.
- £60 million Average annual amount committed by the government.
- £1.39 per head What the Department for Transport will spend on average.
- £24 per head Spending on cycling in The Netherlands.
The letter, which will be sent today and has been seen by The Times, tells the prime minister: “You were widely reported in the media as saying that there will be ‘no limits’ on the honours that could be bestowed on our medal winners. But the best way to honour the achievements of our athletes would be a legacy of everyday cycling in this country — a place where cycling is the choice form of transport for people to get around in their daily lives.”
It reminds Mrs May that the Conservative manifesto pledged to double the number of cycle journeys and that her predecessor promised a “cycling revolution” for commuters.
The stars draw attention to the government’s “cycling and walking investment strategy”, a draft of which was condemned by campaigners for committing a “derisory” amount of funding.
It pledged £300 million over five years to cycling in England outside London, worth £2.07 per capita in 2016-17, falling to 72p by 2020-21. This is less than the £10 per head recommended by a cross-party Commons inquiry and the Times Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, backed by the AA.
The letter adds: “We need 5 per cent of the government’s transport spend allocated to cycling. This is the only way that cycling will be integrated into transport strategy and given the priority it deserves. Investment in cycling . . . will pay off for the nation’s health, wealth, transport infrastructure and the vibrancy of our towns and cities.
“Our athletes have inspired the country and now we urge the government to take cycling seriously as a transport option for everyone.”
Boardman said that he had applied to chair the government’s expert committee for its cycling strategy and that Mrs May must give funding for cycling the same guaranteed status as for roads, rail and aviation. He warned against “positive indifference” from government.
THE LETTER IN FULL
Thursday 1 September 2016
Dear Prime Minister,