The Department of Transport has this week published its Inclusive Transport Strategy, within which pledges are made to develop the bicycle’s role as a mobility aid.
Coming in tandem with the news that disability bike businesses may be severely impacted by anti-dumping legislation, one of the commitments within is to “explore the feasibility of amending legislation to recognise the use of cycles as a mobility aid” by 2020.
However, without earlier intervention, the market for affordable bikes and trikes for disabled and frail people may be on the brink of collapse. Many such bikes are sourced from China and as such tariffs apply on imports. Some of these have recently risen.
The strategy pledges to make transport of all kinds fully accessible by 2030, drawing on input from Government consultations where it was strongly advised that a holistic approach to design was taken to promote inclusive travel.
A promising segment of the document relates to the Local Transport Note on which it is advised that local authorities take into account Accessibility Action Plan advice when designing cycling infrastructure.
Wheels for Wellbeing welcomed the Strategy, stating flagging the £300 million Access for All programme for railway stations, among other measures as a big win.
Isabelle Clement, Director of Wheels for Wellbeing, had this to say on the Inclusive Transport Strategy: “We welcome the publication of this strategy, which shows the government’s increased understanding and awareness of the needs of disabled people as cyclists. Having campaigned for the recognition of cycles as mobility aids for some time, we are excited to learn that the government are now looking into this issue. If more disabled people are to be encouraged to cycle and lead active and healthy lifestyles then this must surely be the starting point…
We look forward to continuing to participate in the LTN 2/08 working group and will write to the Minister shortly to discuss ways of working together to develop a solution that will stop disabled people being unfairly penalised when using their cycle as a mobility aid.”