An Important Moment for the Future of Cycling

Currently, England has some of the lowest cycling rates in all of Europe, something the BBC attributes to children’s fears of fast moving traffic. A recent survey revealed that among pupils ages 11 to 17, “…44% never cycled and were therefore ‘missing out on the benefits of cycling entirely’”. But, it’s not all bad news for cycling enthusiasts and those wanting to promote more sustainable, green modes of transportation across the country.

Growing Support For Cycling

Organizations like http://www.cycle2work.info have been working to make bikes more accessible and attractive to employees, and it looks like parliament is also finally on board. The Guardian reports that the new infrastructure bill, bringing huge amounts of funding to new rail and major roads, has steadily been gaining supporters wanting to minimize the impact on cyclists and even improve their ability to navigate the roads.

What started as a small movement among some organizations that want to push for secure bike lanes leading to schools and people’s workplaces has grown into a movement that most never expected. With more and more cyclists speaking out about the benefits of cycling and their desire to more safely use it as an alternative to the car, it seems that the dream of competing with cycling heavy nations like the Netherlands may finally become a reality.

A Persuasive Case

“After listening carefully, by the end of the debate,” The Guardian reports, “the roads minister agreed, saying it ‘would be ironic to have a road investment strategy without having a walking and cycling strategy alongside it. That case was made by cyclists here in the House and beyond, and it is a persuasive one.’” Finding the necessary and powerful support for cyclists necessary has been an uphill battle, but the huge outpouring of desire for better, safer cycling has resulted in projects like London’s “Crossrail for the Bike” and talk of a return of Cycling England, the body previously responsible for promoting walking and cycling in the country.

Benefits of Cycling

Since rural communities will have to fight to get the same kind of consideration as the projects proposed in London, and there still remains the issue of many children being nervous about cycling, there’s never been a better time for those who believe in its benefits to try and generate more support. Proponents of cycling can point to the ways in which this mode of transportation benefits everyone—not just those whizzing by traffic on two wheels.

Cycling remains the most inexpensive form of transportation, besides your own two feet, frees up an incredible amount of road space normally take up by cars with only one passenger, and many studies suggest that moving even 10% of daily journeys and commutes to bicycles could drastically reduce air pollution, especially in major urban environments.