Chris Boardman
Boardman has led GM's plans for the Bee Network of cycle routes

Cycle plan is biggest step in a lifetime, says Boardman

Dan Whelan

Details of the Government’s plan to overhaul cycling and walking infrastructure in England have been welcomed by Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, Chris Boardman, who said the city region now needs to bring about a “cycling revolution”. 

Boardman said: “This is the biggest step forward for active travel that I have seen in my lifetime. For the past few months, we’ve effectively had a global consultation by turning off traffic overnight and by doing this we showed that people will choose to ride bikes when they feel safe.” 

The details this week of the Prime Minister’s plan to upgrade the nation’s active travel provision followed the announcement of £2bn of funding for the project in February.

Greater Manchester’s Bee Network, a 1,800-mile scheme designed to connect the city through cycling infrastructure, is set to benefit from the Whitehall funding.

The Government’s cycling and walking plans include:  

  • More cycle racks installed at transport hubs for bike storage  
  • Increased provision of cycle training for children and adults 
  • Thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities 
  • Boosting investment by creating a long-term cycling programme and budget to ensure a guaranteed pipeline of funding 
  • Making streets safer by consulting to strengthen the Highway Code to better protect pedestrians and cyclists 
  • Supporting local authorities by empowering them to crack down on traffic offences 
  • Improving air quality and reducing traffic by creating more low traffic neighbourhoods
  • Intensive funding of 12 new areas to become more cycle friendly, known as ‘Mini Hollands’ 
  • Creating at least one zero-emission transport city centre 
  • Encouraging GPs to prescribe cycling to patients who would benefit

Boardman said Greater Manchester must show “strong leadership” to execute the plans. “Creating a true cultural shift where cycling and walking is the default way to travel requires far more than simply building bike lanes. 

“The variety of measures laid out in these plans reflect the importance of increasing access to bikes, making local roads safer and improving air quality.”  

He added: “We hope this announcement will unlock the investment and additional powers needed to enable our 10 councils to realise the full potential of these plans.”   

There has been a 16% increase in the number of people cycling in Greater Manchester during the pandemic. The weekday cycling peak reached 200,000 trips, equating to around one million trips a week.

In June, Manchester City Council came under fire after submitting a £600,000 bid from the Government’s £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund which omitted provision for temporary cycle lanes, a feature deemed integral to the strategy by other councils within the combined authority.

Travel and infrastructure experts from across the region will discuss the North West walking and cycling agenda at Place North West’s next event on 30 July

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Embarassing when the Tory government is more forward-thinking and progressive on this issue than Manchester’s Labour council, but it’s good to know that there are people in government who know the right thing to do. Now to convince some of the dinosaurs high up in Manchester Council….

By Anonymous

The weather in this country isn’t good enough for this nonsense

By Lol

It’s outstanding news.

By Active Travel Trev

Wait for the UK autumn and winter to arrive, with cold. wet days, dark nights and short days. all these new cycle lanes will not be used by anyone other than the same cyclists that used the cycles lanes pre-covid. Ebay and other sites will be awash with used bikes for sale

By Cyclist

I would love to know where they get these statistics from about the 16% increase in people cycling in greater Manchester.. Most people have been off work for 3months like myself. I went back to work 4weeks ago and during lockdown I’ve been doing a lot of fitness(like most people) like going out on long bike rides with my 2 lovely kids for 3hours, so it’s obvious people have been cycling a lot more to get out of the house or apartment.. I do a lot of driving in my job around mcr and Salford and during the winter months half the silly cyclists are in dark clothes with no lights on, also Half of them go through red lights, which is silly.

By Darren born bred Salford

Enforcement of speed limits in cycle lanes is needed now, they are becoming dangerous to pedestrians crossing, and it is hard to fine or enforce those speed limits that do exist in law

By jabjabjab

The weather? Must be why nobody cycles in cold, grim Amserdam whereas Spain and Italy are famous for their cyclists.

By Tim

Lol – have ever been to Amsterdam it is often cold wet and windy but everyone seems to cycle.

By Anonymous


TfGM undertake traffic surveys to see how many people are cycling. Manchester is full of CCTV.

Half the silly drivers do much worse. Ever seen a drink driver smash into a pedestrian?
I’d love to know where you get your stats from Darren. Oh wait… no I don’t.

By Anonymous

@Lol & @Cyclist – the Netherlands and Denmark would like a word

By Anonymous

People rambling on about the weather seems to disregard the fact that both Denmark and Holland have similar weather to here and cycling is still very popular over there, even during the winter! Yes you might get wet but it’s not the end of the world, you prepare for it and wear the right clothes just as you would if you had to walk.

People always badger on about cyclists going through red lights but most of the time it actually makes no difference, people who cycle through pedestrian crossing when people are there are idiots but most of the time it’s no difference to running across the road on a red man. A 2 ton car going 40mph will to much more damage than a 15kg bike going at 10mph.

By Aaron

The sooner we ban cars from our city centres the better. Seems to be every day now that an idiot motorist runs their car off the road and kills a pedestrian. Several times in the last few weeks it’s been innocent children killed by motorists going twice the speed limit while texting on their phone. Cars should be banned from all residential neighbourhoods.

By Anonymous

Still can’t get where there get these figures come from of 16%,. All parks and countryside was pretty busy during lockdown.. Most people during lockdown, mainly between end of march till about end June went out on there bikes for a few hours or went for a few hours walk to get out of the house or apartments. These people went to the local country park, Clifton country park, sale country park etc or the countryside where there is no CCTV.

By Darren born bred Salford

More people on bikes is a good thing. For our air, NHS, traffic levels, high-streets and planet. More people on bikes doesn’t take anything away from you if you drive. You are allowed to support more cycling and want to drive a little more during the winter. The same old same old arguments about road tax, red lights, helmets etc. need to be balanced about the destruction vehicles make to our roads through pollution, traffic, potholes, obesity. Despite this, cars will still have their place. Just cut a break to the young family, the retired old person or the frugal first time buyers trying to cycle. They deserve safety.

By Optimism

One group of people that I feel are ignored when you’re talking about people getting out of their cars and using public transport or cycle are those many people whose only way of getting out and about is to use their cars !! I think you should at least acknowledge that many people are in this group and if you make driving difficult for us you will be discriminating against all the people with mobility problems.

By Anonymous