Boardman challenges towns across Britain to be ambitious on cycling

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British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman today put out a challenge to his home town of West Kirby and towns across Britain to be ambitious about designing cycling back into roads and junctions.

During a tour of West Kirby, Boardman today presented MP Esther McVey and Wirral Council with a set of proposals that could kick-start a cycling transformation in the town from just £3,000.

Commenting on the tour, Chris Boardman said: “A lot of the noise around cycling is about what our major cities can do to kick-start real culture change and get masses of people cycling.

"But if we want to inspire a true cycling revolution, we have to make sure that hundreds of towns and villages are being just as ambitious.

“Two-thirds of people in this country have said they would get on a bike if the environment was more appealing for cyclists. Councils across Britain should be prioritising cycling as a form of transport and seeing it as a wider solution to problems such as obesity and congestion.

“This isn’t about finding new money. This is about a reallocation of existing funds and a conscious decision to create more pleasant places to live.”

The key improvements Boardman has proposed in West Kirby could be made in any town. They include:

  • Two-way cycling on South Parade and the Promenade for a cost of £4,000
  • Speed reduction and convenient crossing from a cost of £5,000
  • Linking the Wirral Circular Trail at a cost of £3,000
  • New layout of the central area of the town including a shared space design from a cost of £41,000
  • Removing motor traffic from the Crescent area of the town for a cost of £12,000

Working alongside British Cycling’s infrastructure experts, Adrian Lord and Phil Jones, Boardman’s detailed set of plans demonstrate how some simple changes to road design could have a transformative effect, leading hundreds of the town’s residents to choose to get around on two wheels.

Boardman today challenged Esther McVey MP and the council’s transport planners to implement the plans, including showing how the proposed redesigns could increase takings for local businesses by 50% and at the same time reduce accidents by two-fifths.

By making the town centre more of a shared space, the number of cycling trips could increase by 20% in the first year. All of this could be achieved by reducing the number of car parking spaces by just 2.5% across the town centre.

The ride follows a letter that Chris Boardman wrote to Wirral Council earlier this month, alongside 13 other Olympic and Paralympic stars, where he called for the council to make a public commitment to improve conditions on the road for people on bikes.

This includes implementing the top recommendations in British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling manifesto. Cycle commuting levels in the Wirral have reduced since 2001 to just 1.6%. This is below the national average.

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