The government has announced that £5 billion in funding will be provided to help cyclists around the country, with more than 250 miles of new separated cycle routes set to be established and dozens of Mini Holland schemes established in order to make it safer for both cyclists and pedestrians to navigate their way around town centres.
The multibillion-pound package will also be used, however, to deliver at least 4,000 new zero-emission buses, more affordable, simpler fares, higher frequency services and new priority schemes in order to make routes more efficient.
Mini Holland schemes were introduced in 2017, designed to help make it safer for walking and cycling through projects such as new and upgraded crossings, upgraded junctions to ease traffic flow, routes that make it easier to walk or bike to town centres, cycle hubs and hangars for easy bike storage and improved public spaces to make them more attractive in which to spend time, as well as improving air quality.
Benefits of these projects include less congestion on road networks (so fewer emissions and better air quality), wider pavements and safer crossings, more green spaces, trees and plants, and an increase in footfall, giving businesses a boost.
Recent research from the University of Westminster found that these schemes succeeded in increasing both walking and cycling by 41 minutes per person in London boroughs with these road systems compared to those without.
Interestingly, it was also found that residents in these boroughs were more likely to think that their local environments were improving when questioned on topics such as cycling safety and the ease of crossing the road.
While the £5 billion investment in transport is certainly good news, it has drawn criticism from some quarters, with the chief executive of charity Cycling UK saying that the organisation is “hugely disappointed” to find that cycling will only see “a mere £350 million” out of the £5 billion funding pot.
Paul Tuohy was quoted by Cycling Weekly as saying: “250 miles of segregated cycle lanes across England is a drop in the ocean, especially when Manchester plans more than 1,800 miles of lanes.
He went on to add: “Better cycling infrastructure will meet the prime minister’s ambitions to transform towns and cities, making them happier, healthier and cleaner places to live and work, but without an immediate commitment of at least £6 billion over the next five years, we’ll never achieve that vision.”
If you’ve been thinking seriously about getting more exercise and believe that cycling could be the sport for you, electric bikes could be the way to go about it – especially if you know you’re not very fit at the moment or if your commute to work is slightly longer than you might like.
With these kinds of bikes, the motor is automatically activated when you pedal and it will provide you with the power you need based on how your pedalling is going.
There are five power levels of electric assists and an automatic mode, so if you know you’re going to have to face lots of hills on your way to work, you’ll have all the help you need until your fitness levels improve sufficiently for you to do it without.
You could also consider asking your employer to help you get on your bike via Hurrecane’s Green Commute Initiative Cycle Scheme. Your employer will buy a voucher that entitles you to hire the bike of your choice directly from us, with the cost of the voucher the same as the cost of the bike you’re interested in.
You then repay the costs of the voucher by sacrificing some of your gross salary (so before tax and National Insurance), meaning you would save the tax and the National INsurance that you’d pay if you purchased your bike from your pay after tax. Your employer will also save 13.8 per cent employer’s National Insurance, as well.
Once the initial hire period has come to an end, we’re unable to give you the bike because you would then incur a tax liability, so to get around this we make you a free-of-charge loan of the bike for five years – and then you can buy it from us for the princely sum of £1!