Get set for more plant pots, suspension damaging speed humps, dangerous chicanes and loss of dual carriageways, as the UK govt announces more billions to coerce people out of cars, and onto bicycles. In 2017, the government published the first ever statutory cycling and walking investment strategy (CWIS1), which covered the period between 2016 and 2021.
This week the Govt published the second statutory cycling and walking investment strategy (CWIS2), which covers the period between 2021 and 2025. The strategy includes new and updated objectives including doubling cycling, increasing levels of walking across the community, and walking to school, whilst also setting out the funding in place to achieve these.
In a sinister WEF note, the Govt press release mentions funding for “a range of behaviour change programmes.” Rough translation; expect more misery when you drive, plus more Net Zero `punishment’ taxes, parking charges etc. The fact is cycling in the UK, especially remote parts like northern Scotland and mid-Wales, only makes sense in the summer months, as a leisure pursuit. It’s also impossible to ferry children and groceries safely in winter, as dark mornings and evenings make piloting a cargo bike on UK roads a high risk operation, and deeply unpleasant.
By causing traffic jams with extra anti-car/van furniture the UK Govt is also causing the unnecessary deaths of those who are waiting for delayed ambulances. They are also increasing the cost of living, since every delivery van will take longer to make a certain number of drops per day. Fewer drops means each mini-market or business will have to pay more for that delivery.
Sadly, the UK lacks the safe urban cycling infrastructure that the Netherlands or Denmark has. This is deliberate planning policy over the last 50 years by a succession of governments and no amount of painting white lines or planters can change that fact. Until UK city and suburban streets are flattened and totally re-designed, with wide and separate cycle lanes, which are traffic light controlled, it cannot work as a safe mass transit method. Cyclists and e-scooter riders will die every year because they riding next to HGVs, buses and large vans – no amount of Net Zero utopian thinking will alter that brutal truth.