City sets out ambitious cycling targets

Liverpool is laying out its ambitions to become a leading cycle city, with new plans for one in 10 of all trips to be made by bike by 2025.

The plans support the Mayor of Liverpool’s pledge to create a cleaner, greener city, and could help save over £1 million in reducing premature deaths and NHS costs, as well as delivering over £2 million of benefits in congestion and pollution reduction.

It forms part of the Council’s Cycling Strategy for 2013-2026, which aims to build on the city’s recent success in cycling. Record numbers of people are now using bikes to travel around Liverpool, and the strategy aims to create a city where cycling is a normal choice of travel.

Local people are now being invited to share their views on the strategy, and let the council know whether they ride a bike already or would like to ride a bike in the future.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Climate Change, Councillor Tim Moore, said: “This is a really important plan. Our vision is to make Liverpool a city where cycling is a popular, mainstream mode of travel for local journeys – with accessible routes which are safe, convenient, accessible, comfortable and attractive for both adults and children.

“We know that many of the most attractive, vibrant, successful and liveable cities of the world have high levels of cycling and we recognise its importance to creating a sustainable society.

“This strategy sets out how we will invest in our cycling infrastructure in the coming years to help improve health and wellbeing, create new opportunities for local people, boost our economy, and provide a low carbon future for Liverpool.”

The strategy – which has been developed by the Council, in consultation with Local Transport Plan partners, Liverpool Cycle Forum and other partners, lays out a range of steps which will be taken to encourage more people to cycle more often, including:

• Developing a safer cycling environment through the continuing investment in the city’s cycle network, with clearly defined routes and good quality facilities.
• Continuing to invest in speed reduction through campaigns such as ‘The 20 Effect’, which supports the on-going work to more than double the number of residential roads in the city with 20mph speed limits.
• Improved road maintenance, integration with public transport and cycle parking.
• Improved cyclist safety through training programmes and enforcement.
• The promotion of cycling through special events, rides and marketing campaigns.

Liverpool’s ambitions will be boosted by the launch, early next year, of its Cycle Hire Scheme. With 1,000 cycles available for hire at 100 stations, primarily in the city centre, it will be the biggest scheme in the UK, outside London, running 24-hour-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. The city council is currently in discussions with a number of companies and expects an operator to be in place by the end of this year.

Liverpool has also committed £1m in Local Sustainable Transport Funding from the Department of Transport to further boost the cycling infrastructure and sustainable transport in Liverpool until 2014. It is being invested in, among other projects, improving east/west links, setting up a neighbourhood travel team, and the promotion of cycling to businesses and communities in north Liverpool.

Other on-going work includes a £300,000 investment, from the Government’s Cycle Safety Fund, in major improvements to the area around the entrance to Princes Park, which is heavily used by cyclists for commuting. Meanwhile, work to improve cycle links on Leeds Street in the city centre is underway.

The city’s comprehensive cycling programme also continues to go from strength to strength, with a range of free riding initiatives, including Cycle Liverpool South, Choose Freedom North Liverpool, Liverpool Wheels for All and Cycle for Health, encouraging people of all ages and abilities – including those with disabilities – to get cycling.

And the city is achieving major success in delivering cycle training for young people. More than 70 per cent of primary school age children are receiving Level 2 training through the national on-road cycle training programme, Bikeability, against a national average of 40 per cent. And Level 3 Bikeability training has been delivered to over 1,000 secondary age students over the past year – more than anywhere else in the country.

To support the city’s ambitions and help it reach its targets, the city will continue to work with partners, including Merseytravel and the Merseyside local authorities, Sustrans and BikeRight, to deliver a range of programmes. The city will also develop the case for capital investment in cycling and compete for funds through schemes such as Tranche 2 of the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Public consultation on Liverpool’s Cycling Strategy for 2013-2026 is now underway, and runs until 28 October. If you would like to have your say on the plans, please visit www.liverpool.gov.uk/council/consultation/