Only 13 UK councils set to spend budget on cyclist protection

A new study by Heald, reveals many towns and cities in the UK do not currently have barriers in place to protect cyclists, despite a 500% increase in sales for cycling equipment at the beginning of the first national lockdown and the push on the governments cycle to work scheme.

Heald’s findings have been obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests which the company sent to 360 UK councils.

The report highlights that out of the 360 councils that were contacted, only 149 responded. Out of the 149 responding councils, it was found that only Darlington Council and Brent Council currently have permanent barriers in place to protect cyclists.

Debbie Heald MBE, Heald Managing Director, said: “A staggering 99% of councils that responded to our request for information are not aware of any barriers or bollards in place to protect cyclists from road collisions. Considering the cycle to work scheme and the government’s most recent climate change pledge, which encourages cycling into work, it’s clear that the government needs to provide councils with the budget to implement the appropriate cycling measures to ensure UK residents can fulfil their eco-friendly transport efforts safely.

Additionally, according to the insight, only 13 councils planned to spend on measures to protect cyclists. This follows £2bn worth of funding from the government to improve cycling infrastructure on UK roads. However, this means 91% of the councils that responded to the FOI request were not aware of any cyclist protection being implemented within their area, regardless of the government funding.

The new study also revealed that 149 of the councils that responded to the FOI request have no temporary barriers in place for cyclists, despite reports of cyclists’ death doubling during lockdown compared to the previous year.

Out of the 149 councils that shared information, 12% recorded cycling deaths between January 1st, 2019 and January 1st 2020.

Debbie Heald MBE, adds: “It’s devastating to see how the pandemic has impacted the number of cycling deaths in the UK, but with the limited barriers and bollards in place to protect cyclists from collisions, it’s sadly not a surprise. With the government encouraging cycling as a way of contributing to a greener UK, councils would benefit from the funds to implement systems to protect cyclists and vehicles from road collisions as it would encourage more people to get involved with the activity.

“Installing bollards would be the ideal solution for councils to ensure proper cyclist protection on UK roads and would mean an increase in confidence on the roads. With the staggering number of cycling-related fatalities recorded over the lockdown period, and with the government pushing the UK to travel more sustainably, councils must be allocated a budget to install the appropriate measures.

“There has been huge groundwork put in across the manufacturing and security industry to develop products which can help improve the safety of the public and it’s important that the government, councils and other authorities consider making use of these”.

More information about the report can be found here.