Government announces £7 million fund to make cities safer for cyclists

A £7 million fund will be used to make English cities safer for cyclists including those in Leeds, the Government has announced.

Councils will be able to bid for £6.5 million of the cash to pay for schemes such as segregated cycle paths and improved junctions.

The remaining £500,000 will support the Big Bike Revival project run by charity Cycling UK to provide training and encouragement to get more people cycling.

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The funding is part of the Department for Transport (DfT) cycling review announced in September 2017 after 44-year-old mother-of-two Kim Briggs was knocked over and killed by a bicycle courier.

Charlie Alliston, then 18, was travelling at 18mph on a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes and was sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of causing bodily harm by “wanton and furious driving”.

The review is considering whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists, as well as improving road safety for cyclists.

The eight cities invited to bid for a share of the £6.5 million fund are Leeds, Bristol, Cambridge, Birmingham, Norwich, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford.

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They are already receiving government support under the Cycle City Ambition scheme.

Cycling minister Jesse Norman said: “Everyone should be able to take advantage of the huge health and environmental benefits of cycling.

“While Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, we want to encourage more people to take up cycling.

“This funding, as part of our overall cycling and walking strategy, will help local councils to make their roads safer for everyone.”

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The DfT says £1.2 billion is available as part of the strategy over the five-year period to 2021 to boost cycling and walking.

It aims to double cycling activity by 2025, reduce the rate of cyclists killed or seriously injured and reverse the decline in walking.

Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy described investment in cycling as “incredible value for money”.

He said it costs as little as £24 to train a person to cycle compared with the £77 per person being spent by the NHS on treating illnesses directly attributable to obesity.