The Infrastructure Bill: a hope for cyclists?
The Infrastructure Bill is currently being considered by the House of Lords before it is further scrutinised by the House of Commons.
What will the impact of the Infrastructure Bill be?
The Government will be tasked with developing a cycling and walking strategy which will help to promote the healthiest and environmentally friendly forms of transport.
At present, there is no national funding in place for cycling and walking beyond 2016 – a marked contrast to spending on road and rail travel which is already guaranteed beyond this date. This is why the proposals covered by the Infrastructure Bill are so important. If the proposals go through, cycling and walking would enjoy the same five year funding and planning that applies to road and rail travel. These amendments would fill the huge gap in funding, and making these changes and implementing a longer term strategy could boost the growth of our cycling culture.
In order for this to happen, it is time for the Government and local authorities to prioritise suitable infrastructure which will inevitably require further spending.
If passed, the Bill will become law in March 2015.
‘Get Britain Cycling’ parliamentary enquiry
In addition to the proposals in the Infrastructure Bill, it is also important to support the findings of the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ parliamentary enquiry. Some of the aims of this enquiry are to “realise the full potential of cycling to contribute to the health and wealth of the nation” and to “change the culture of how we use the roads”.
This enquiry has called for an increase in the spending on cycling per person from £2.00 per head (being the current level) to £10.00 per head by 2020. We need to support this enquiry if we are to increase the popularity of cycling as a functional means of making everyday journeys as is the model in a number of European cities such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam.
About Mark Hambleton
Mark Hambleton is a specialist personal injury lawyer and a keen cyclist – in his own words, “solicitor and cyclist in equal measure.” Last year alone, he cycled from John O’Groats to Land’s End (984 miles) in 9 days in aid of the Bath Rugby Foundation and completed the Bike Bath challenge as part of the RWK Goodman team. Not to mention that he also cycles to work every day – 29 miles round trip! Mark is a keen advocate of cyclists’ safety and regularly speaks up on safety-related matters.