Copenhagen-inspired cycling assessment to get further UK roll out

Cycling charity Sustrans has revealed that four more local authorities have joined Bike Life, a project designed to help UK cities normalise cycling.

Having launched in Birmingham in 2014, the partnership project will now expand to cover the West Midlands, while Southampton, Greater Cambridge, Liverpool City Region and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets will join the project, producing reports capturing data on infrastructure, travel habits, public attitudes and the impact of cycling, which will then be published in 2020 and 2022.

In total 14 cities and regions are due to participate in the project between 2018 and 2022, collectively covering nearly 14 million people - 20 per cent of the entire UK population. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority used evidence from Bike Life to demonstrate public support for a bold new strategy for cycling, paving the way for an investment of £160 million for active travel.

Bike Life is inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account which outlines the development in cycling, identifies challenges and informs planning. Copenhagen is the most bicycle-friendly city in the world, with the Danish government having invested over £35 per head each year on cycling and a network of segregated cycle routes on almost all main roads and bridges across the city since 2004. In 2016, 41 per cent of trips to work and education in the city were made by bike.

Xavier Brice, Sustrans’ CEO, said: “Bike Life has demonstrated how it is an important tool to help encourage both political support and practical delivery of cycling in our cities. We are excited to be rolling this out to new cities across the UK. Delivering better infrastructure for cycling is key to keeping our cities moving, and improving health and economic vitality. It is fantastic to see local authorities have the appetite for change.

“Bike Life shows that people in cities across the UK understand the benefits of cycling and want better provision, including protected space. We need both national and local governments to rise to this challenge and make our cities more active and liveable.”

Jacqui Rayment, cabinet member for Environment & Transport, Southampton City Council, said: “In Southampton, we are passionate about the health and wellbeing benefits cycling offers our residents. In addition, cycling also has a really positive impact on the quality of air in our city. As successful bidders for funding that supports and encourages active travel, we think Bike Life can help further develop the economic case for additional funding in Southampton.”

Ian Bates, Cambridgeshire County Council’s chair of the Economy and Environment Committee, said: “I’m delighted that Greater Cambridge has been successful in joining the Sustrans Bike Life project. This means that much more data can be collected to gauge the progress that is being made in getting more people cycling more safely and more often across the area. Gathering more information will help build the case for further investment in walking and cycling, which is so important in helping to tackle traffic congestion, improve air quality and produce a network which allows a broader spread of people to feel safe and confident cycling.”

Will Tuckley, chief executive of Tower Hamlets Council, said: “We are delighted to be the first London borough to work with Bike Life to build the case for additional cycling strategies and innovative alternatives to car use. Reducing air pollution and developing active travel options are key priorities in Tower Hamlets. The data we collate will pave the way for new investment in greener transport solutions across the borough.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, commented: “As Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, I have pledged that we will promote and champion sustainable transport. Cycling is a healthy form of transport and we are working in partnership to make it more attractive and accessible to encourage more people to take it up. We are delighted to be part of the national BikeLife programme and look forward to working alongside the other participant areas to make the most of this great opportunity.”

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