Well the government has blown me away with the latest announcements on cycling! The Gear Change for cycling and walking is not so much a Gear Changer - more of a Game Changer. It's far and away the most radical leap forward in my lifetime.
And it has the full political backing of Boris Johnson, who has form on cycling from his time as London Mayor, and has realised that his near-death Covid-19 experience was made far worse by his weight and lack of exercise.
Here are just some of the highlights (and there are a lot) :
- Gear Change: The master document here. Recommended reading!
- A new Highway Code, including a hierarchy of users, cycle priority at junctions, safe passing distances.
- Radical new Design Standards (LTN 1/20), which will be expected to be used by Local Authorities and developers, regardless of public funding or not, and no public money on schemes which don't comply.
- Shared paths to be banned, except where there is absolutely no other solution.
- Active Travel England as enforcement 'with teeth', headed by a new Cycling and Walking Commissioner.
- Health, environment and community benefits to be given full weight when judging schemes.
- Long-term cycling & walking programme with significant budget, like the roads programme and budget.
- All new local and strategic A road schemes will provide for cycling.
- All new housing and business developments to prioritise sustainable travel.
- Local authorities to get more traffic control powers, including fines.
- Less rat-running and more low-traffic neighbourhoods.
- More School Streets to protect children.
- Hard, smooth, level all-weather surfaces as standard.
- Action on bike theft, more bike parking.
- Bike training for every child and adult that wants it.
- E-Bike support programme, including loans and subsidies.
- Higher safety standards for lorries.
- Improve and extend the National Cycle Network.
- Mini-Hollands to be funded for 12 local authorities.
- Create at least one zero-emission city.
The best write-up I've seen on it so far has been from the legendary Carlton Reid here.
When will the Havant area see any of the benefits? Well even under the accelerated timescales being proposed, it might take months or years to put in new cycle paths, which won't be easy. But we'll see £50 fix your bike vouchers as soon as their website stops crashing, and training for kids and adults fairly soon.
Game Changer is the only way to describe it.