Gear Change – ‘A bold vision for cycling’ Part I

PDP_Gear Change

In July 2020, the government released their visionary plan ‘Gear Change – A bold vision for cycling and walking’.

As the PM says in his introduction to the proposed scheme, cycling and walking means less pollution and noise for everyone, but also more trade for street-front business among other things. Planning-wise the government’s intention is to activate the creation of low traffic neighbourhoods, protected bike lanes, new bus and bike corridors. It also takes into account that not everyone can or wants to cycle, so they are also investing in new roads, buses and railways.

The commitments in the plan (which will be funded by the £2bn of new money announced earlier this year for walking and cycling) include:

  • Transforming infrastructure
  • Boosting investment
  • Making streets safer
  • Supporting local authorities
  • Improving air quality and reducing traffic by creating more low traffic neighbourhoods and creating at least one zero-emission transport city centre
  • Helping people live healthier lives by piloting a new approach in selected places with poor health rates to encourage GPs to prescribe cycling, with patients able to access bikes through their local surgery
  • Increasing access to e-bikes by setting up a new national e-bike programme, to help those who are older, have to travel long distances or are less fit to take up cycling

My commute to work – The numbers:

During the last 6 months I have on average ridden to work twice per week which means :

  • Average 32 miles by bike a week
  • 1.5 hours of exercise /commuting day
  • 1.3 litres of fuel per day saved
  • Saved £1.50/ day in fuel or £5/ day train fares
  • Avoided 2.62 Kg of CO2/ day or 135 Kg of CO2 across 6 months
  • Consumed 500 Kcal/ journey

I have to admit that riding in some days has been hard with the rain and wind, however that’s not my everyday ride, and as well as that I have enjoyed the beautiful landscape Fig2. of Derbyshire, which is a wonderful way of unwinding after a day’s work. In the next article, I will explain more about the government’s new policy and how this might impact planning and our built environment in the future.

Fernando Collado Lopez, Architect, Planning & Design Practice Ltd

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