The government has announced a £1million campaign to encourage the nation to spend less time in the car and more time on their bikes.
The ‘Big Bike Revival’ will involve teaching people how to fix and maintain a bicycle, receive cycle training to help with confidence, trade their bicycle for a more suitable one and donate surplus cycles, learn where to cycle in their local area and discover local cycling activity.
The campaign was announced by transport minister Robert Goodwill and will be delivered by the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), a national cycling charity.
Government research suggests 42 per cent of adults in Britain had access to a bicycle, yet 63 per cent said it had been gathering dust in 2013. 37 per cent, meanwhile, admitted they could use a bicycle instead of a car for short journeys.
Back in October 2014, the CTC ran a trial programme of the Big Bike Revival that was said to have ‘demonstrated significant health and economic benefits’, adding that many who attended committed themselves to cycling more often while some started to use a bicycle for getting to work.
It is hoped getting people on two-wheeled transportation will help ease the burden of congestion, pollution and health risks associated with a lack of exercise.
Goodwill said: “We are serious about getting people on their bike – cycling is great for our health and means less congested cities and less pollution.
“Now spring has arrived, there is no better time to bring out that bike gathering dust in the shed. The Big Bike Revival will help you sort out the punctures and minor mechanical problems that we have all used as an excuse not to get out on 2 wheels.”
Goodwill also mentioned the £14.5 million being spent on railways stations to increase the number of bikes that can be stored: “It is also important we do all we can to integrate cycling into longer journeys, and that’s why increasing facilities at rail stations is vital.
“These new facilities will make it easier and more convenient for people to cycle to and from their station and I am delighted we will have tripled cycle parking at stations since 2010 once these new schemes have been built.”
Derby, Dorking, Lincoln, Preston and Rugby are among the stations set to receive ‘hundreds’ of new cycle parking places, while Woking Cycle Hub will be getting a new cycle route in addition to more bike storage space.
“As the national cycling charity, CTC wants to encourage as many people as possible to fall back in love with cycling and experience all the benefits, health and economic, it brings,” CTC chief executive Paul Tuohy added.
Last year there were a number of cycling deaths in London, leading to calls for major improvements to cycling safety. One suggestion was to install lower-down traffic lights so it’s easier for cyclists to see the signal at junctions.
Another would involve installing CCTV in large vehicles to reduce the problem of blindspots.
The number of bikes on UK roads was said to be 1,302,300 at the end of 2012, compared with 34.5 million cars.