Campaigners back Cameron’s “cycling revolution”

Campaigners today welcomed David Cameron's pledge to start a "cycling revolution" across England.

Cameron was joined by Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton as he announced that £144 million would be spent over the next two years to "cycle-proof" English roads.

"Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high – now we want to see cycling soar. Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists," Cameron said today.

Projects given the go ahead by Cameron include £20 million for new cycling infrastructure in Greater Manchester and a feasibility study into building a "national cycleway" along the route of the HS2 rail link.

West Yorkshire, Birmingham, Newcastle, Cambridge, Norwich, Oxford, and a number of national parks will also benefit under the plans.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said today that while cycling in London had significantly increased in recent years, much more needed to be done outside the capital.

According to government figures, just two per cent of journeys in the UK are currently made by bike, compared with 14% in Germany and almost a third in the Netherlands. National cycling charity CTC today praised the prime minister for his leadership on the issue and urged him to go further in transforming Britain into a "continental-style Cycletopia"

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans also welcomed the speech as a "much needed step in the right direction."

However, they warned that the investment would need to extend beyond the next two years to have a significant impact.

Policy Director Jason Torrance said: "There is a massive challenge ahead if the prime minister's cycling revolution is to become reality.

"However, the announcement today to 'cycle proof our roads' is a much needed step in the right direction and provides hope for the future and an opportunity for local authorities to transform the places we live, making them fit for travel by bike."

Torrance also pointed out that the amount of money pledged is tiny compared to the government's recent pledge to spend £28 billion on the UK's motorway network.

Other cycle campaigners drew comparisons between the scale of Cameron's announcement today and a plan announced earlier this year by Boris Johnson to invest over £900 million on cycling infrastructure in London alone.