Highways England, a government-owned company, has produced an infographic that lists cycling’s many health, social, economic and congestion-busting benefits. The graphic was included in a new Cycling Strategy document released on Friday. Highways England manages the strategic road network in England, or about 4,400 miles of roads, half of which are motorways.
The infographic – viewable in hi-res on Flickr – within the Cycling Strategy from Highways England majors on the economic benefits of cycling, including the fact that Danish levels of cycling would save the NHS £17 billion over the next 20 years. It also stresses the benefits to retailers of being sited near cycleways. “Bike lanes can increase retail sales by a quarter,” promises the graphic, which also states that more people cycling would reduce congestion on England’s roads.
Highways England plans to spend £100 million on “cycle proofing” 200 road schemes. These cycling schemes include creating cycleways beside A-roads, such as the multi-user track to be created when the A556 in Cheshire is “de-trunked”.
Significantly, Highways England says its about “more than just supporting the millions of cars, vans and motorcycles that use our roads every day. Our network also plays a key role in supporting the needs of vulnerable road users, including cyclists.”
The agency is seeking to develop an “integrated, safe, comprehensive and high quality cycling network.” It defines safe as “separate from traffic and that enable users of all abilities to cycle …”
Additional infrastructure will be needed, says the agency, because “cycling is prohibited on our motorways and incompatible with major parts of our network.”
The Government infographic has been adapted from one produced for British Cycling in 2013. Many of the health benefit stats on the infographic were first contained in “Claiming the Health Dividend” published for the Department for Transport in 2014. Despite the Government being well aware of the health, social, economic and congestion-busting benefits of cycling it continues to subsidise and mainly provide for motoring. The Government has plans to spend £15.2 billion on building new roads but, over the next five years has only pledged to spend £300 million on cycling.