Boris Johnson pledges cycle lessons for everyone and thousands of miles of new bike lanes

Projects consisting ‘mostly of paint’ will not get funding, ministers say

Kate Devlin
Whitehall Editor
Tuesday 28 July 2020 01:32 BST
Boris Johnson says he 'struggles with his weight'

Boris Johnson will promise cycle lessons for all as well as thousands of miles of new bike lanes as the coronavirus crisis continues to drive millions from public transport.

GPs will also prescribe cycling as part of the push to get the nation fitter ahead of a possible second wave of the pandemic this winter.

But under the plans, cycling schemes which “consist mainly of paint” or which make pedestrians and cyclists share the same space will not qualify for funding.

Mr Johnson, himself a keen cyclist, has already announced plans to spend £2bn of new money to help more people in England cycle or walk to their destination.

Among the plans are proposals for 12 “mini Hollands”, which will mimic the pro-bike atmosphere of much of the Netherlands, and more low traffic neighbourhoods.

More cycle racks will be installed in residential areas, to help those who do not have space to store at bike at home, as well as near train and bus stations.

The government will also increase access to e-bikes by setting up a new national e-bike programme.

Greater protections will also be offered to riders, with a consultation on strengthening the Highway Code to benefit pedestrians and cyclists.

The first batch of £50 vouchers in an already-announced bike repair scheme will also be released.

Ministers want to build on the significant number of people who have taken up cycling during the pandemic.

But due to the overwhelming demand for the services of cycle shops at the moment, the vouchers will be made available in batches.

The first 50,000 will be released just before midnight tonight on a first-come first-served basis to those who register online.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said this was a “once in a lifetime opportunity to create a shift in attitudes for generations to come”.

Mr Johnson said that to build a “healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels”.

The prime minister is encouraging Britons to lose weight this summer in preparation for a possible second wave of Covid-19.

Studies suggest being overweight can increase the risk of serious illness and death.

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