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Investment for cycling would be best honour, Olympians tell prime minister

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Medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympics have today written a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May asking her to create “a legacy of every-day cycling,” saying that “this would be the best way to honour” their achievements.

Read the letter

Alongside cycling legends Sir Chris Hoy and Chris Boardman, a host of Rio 2016 cyclists including Olympic champions Laura Trott, Jason Kenny and Owain Doull have called for Theresa May to devote 5% of the government’s transport spend to cycling infrastructure and to set targets to improve road maintenance.

 Under current proposals, investment will decline to less than £1 per head by the end of this parliament

The letter says: “The best way to honour the achievements of our athletes would be to create a legacy of every-day cycling in this country – a place where cycling is the choice form of transport for people to get around in their daily lives.

“Investment in cycling as a form of transport isn’t purely an investment in cycle lanes. It is an investment that will pay off for the nation’s health, wealth, transport infrastructure and the vibrancy of our towns and cities. It has the added benefit of just making it easier for ordinary families to get to work and get to school.”

Olympic champions Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Katie Archibald and Elinor Barker

The letter comes off the back of a You Gov survey, commissioned by British Cycling and released today which shows that almost 60% of parents would be uncomfortable with their children cycling to school on a regular basis. Just 2% of school-age children cycle to school in Britain compared with 50% in the Netherlands.

Commenting on the letter, British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said: “Britain is the best elite cycling nation in the world – we’ve proved it at three successive Olympic Games – and yet we’re still massively lagging behind other nations in terms of every-day cycling.

"How can it be right that we have so many Olympic champions but less than 2% of Brits cycle regularly? We know why people aren’t cycling. The fact is that most will only ride a bike if they are separated from traffic on convenient, well-maintained routes.

"How can it be right that we have so many Olympic champions but less than 2% of Brits cycle regularly?

“The ground work has been laid in that the government now legally has to come up with an investment strategy. But let’s see that published with a meaningful amount of money behind it. Under current proposals, investment will decline to less than £1 per head by the end of this parliament. This is a pitiful amount when you consider the £28 per head that is spent in the Netherlands on cycling.”    

The letter to Theresa May asks for a meeting with Chris Boardman to discuss this issue further.