Ambitious plans announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday (Tuesday) to boost cycling and walking in England - in an attempt to get the nation fitter and healthier - have been welcomed by MP Bob Seely.
The Prime Minister’s vision commits to thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for children and adults and bikes available on prescription.
Also included in the plans is the immediate release of £50 bike repair vouchers – to encourage people to get their old bikes out of the back of the shed fixed and safe to ride - alongside the promise of new cycle racks and on-street storage for those who don’t have space to keep a bike at home.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a shift in attitudes and get people walking and cycling as part of their daily routine.
“By helping to fix your bike – or get an electrically powered one; by increasing storage space at stations, on trains and buses; and by introducing more ways to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe, we’re making it easier than ever to make active travel part of your daily life, and leading England to become a great cycling nation.”
Mr Seely said: “The Island has some fantastic cycling and walking routes, but we can do more. We need to go further to join the networks up and make it easier for people to choose to walk or cycle to get around the Island. But these improvements are not just to benefit Islanders, they will improve our tourism offer too.
“We have three critical routes that need developing – the West Wight Route linking Yarmouth/Freshwater to Calbourne, Newbridge, Wellow and Newport; the Gunville Greenway which will make it easier and safer for people to cycle in and out of Newport to the west; and Wootton to Ryde to allow quick and easy access to the centre of Newport.
“I will be pushing for the Island to get as much support as possible to develop its cycling and walking networks.”
Due to the overwhelming demand for cycle shops’ services during the pandemic, vouchers will be released in batches in order to help manage capacity across participating stores. The first 50,000 were released last night on a first come first served basis to those who register online. The Government said it will work closely with industry during the first pilot launch to monitor its success and adapt the scheme as necessary before rolling it out more widely.
More information about the ‘Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme’ can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fix-your-bike-voucher-scheme-apply-for-a-voucher