Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to “crack on” with cycling and walking infrastructure schemes having reportedly been convinced by Department for Transport research showing majority support for things like Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
The Times reports Johnson as acknowledging the noisy minority opposition and saying “there is always opposition to these schemes but as the polls show and as I found in London the majority support them and we should crack on.”
Research does indeed demonstrate opposition to safe cycling and walking schemes, as well as low traffic schemes is overcooked, with many people believing their social circle to hold more extreme anti-cycling views than they indeed do.
A BikeIsBest poll undertaken by YouGov found that 80% of Brits who gave a preference when asked desired to see a green recovery shaped around streets redesigned to protect pedestrians and cyclists against motor traffic. Furthermore, as the old adage ‘build it and they’ll come‘ goes, 51% said they would cycle more with such protected conditions in place.
Selaine Saxby, co-chair to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling and Walking Group and Conservative MP welcomed the sentiment, adding “Schemes to encourage walking and cycling do come against initial resistance, but good to hear the Prime Minister keen to “crack on”. I have this morning been discussing innovative schemes for #NDevon to reduce car usage.”
Saxby recently told CyclingIndustry.News in an interview that “we must make sure money is well invested and the benefits seen, then it becomes easier to justify further funding,” which she agreed was needed.
The resistance to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods has been particularly robust, especially in London. During January the High Court ruled with the Taxi trade that the rollout of schemes and subsequent closure to certain vehicles was “unlawful. Transport for London are set to appeal the decision which ruled in favour of the claimant in five of six instances.
Pic credit: Leicester City Council, temporary cycle lane set up to assist people travelling during Covid-19