Hundreds of millions of pounds wasted on 'substandard' cycling lanes - Boardman

A cyclist using a designated cycle lane
A cyclist using a designated cycle lane

The government has wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on "substandard" cycling lanes which do not help riders feel safer, former Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman has warned.

In his role as Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Mr Boardman is urging the Department for Transport (DfT) to do more to build a safer network of cycling routes across the country.

He has reportedly joined fellow cycling commissioners Dame Sarah Storey (Sheffield City region) and Will Norman (London) in writing to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to warn public money will continue being wasted unless new measures are adopted.

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According to The Guardian, the letter criticises cycle lanes which are little more than white-painted lines along the side of a road, branding them a "gesture" which can actually put riders in more danger.

The commissioners want national minimum safety standards for cycling infrastructure to be drawn up, and also call for money raised from traffic offence fines to be retained within local areas in England in order to fund new road safety measures, the paper adds.

"It's tragic that hundreds of millions of pounds of government money has been spent on substandard cycling and walking infrastructure," Mr Boardman told the paper.

"If national government were to adopt these asks, we'd be on a winning streak and could truly transform Britain's towns and cities, not to mention massively improving air quality and health."

Mr Norman said the benefit of investing in high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure was clear.

"But for people truly to reap the benefits across the UK, government policy must not continue to hold us back," he added.

The DfT said new guidance on cycle lanes would be issued this year, and that around £2 billion is being invested in cycling and walking over the course of this parliament.

Last month, a survey found that seven out of 10 cyclists did not believe conditions on Britain's roads had improved in the past five years.

The poll of 15,199 members of governing body British Cycling indicated that 66% were concerned about their safety when riding a bike.

The three most common hazards encountered by people on bikes were close passes (79%), unsafe road surfaces (68%) and vehicle speed (34%), according to the research.