Motorists will be responsible for the safety of pedestrians and hundreds of miles of new cycle lanes will be built, in a major shake-up of the highway code to boost national health and efforts to reach net-zero emissions.
UK government ministers hope to build on the increase in “active travel” during the pandemic, namely walking and cycling, with a £338m package aimed at making it safer to get around without driving.
The funding — which promises to create extensive new cycling infrastructure, partly through converting old railways — is a 30 per cent increase on last year’s £257m active travel cash pot. It will “link communities together”, said Xavier Brice, chief executive of Sustrans, who welcomed the announcement.
“Most importantly of all, this vital boost will further enable those who want to cycle or walk to do so,” he added.
“The pandemic has highlighted the huge benefits of active forms of travel to people’s personal health and wellbeing, to local communities and to the environment.”
Cycling’s popularity grew more last year than in the previous 20 years combined, with Brits travelling a collective five billion miles on bikes during the pandemic, according to the Department for Transport.