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Cycling’s for life, not just for Coronavirus11th August 2020 Personal Injury
So back in June Manchester City Council came under fire from the cycling community when it was revealed that their bid for part of the Government’s £250m Emergency Active Travel Fund failed to include any provisions for the installation of temporary cycle lanes.
They defended their decision by stating they were committed to ‘long-term’ support to their residents and advising they wanted to make a shift to cycling and walking that would have a lasting effect.
The reason that this received a backlash from the cycling community is that other local bids did include pop-up cycle lanes that ended as they reached the city, meaning there would be no direct route from the surrounding boroughs to the centre which didn’t involve sharing the road with cars, buses, vans, etc. Given the massive influx of new cyclists due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there were concerns the new cycling trend would not continue if there were no safe routes for people to get into and across the city, and the prospect of safe routes into the city was something long overdue. There were also concerns that it would take years before any of these ‘long-term’ changes would be seen and although not ideal, the temporary routes would at least see safer routes for cyclists in the meantime which would give them a visible priority on the roads.
The mock up image below gives an idea of how the pop-up lane routes would have ended as you reached the city.
Photo credit: WalkRide GM
Not long after their bid was announced Manchester City Council appeared to cave to the pressure from the cycling community and backpedalled, amending their bid to include provisions for temporary cycling lanes into the city centre. #powertothepeople
Manchester City Council then had even more positive news for cyclists with the opening of the UK’s first Cycle Optimised Projected Signals junction, or CYCLOPS junction for short.
It’s designed to fully segregate cyclists from general traffic at the 4 way junction making it safer and more efficient for all road users. #winning
A bird’s eye view of the junction can be seen below.
Photo credit: Transport for Greater Manchester TfGM
Skip towards the end of July and the UK government then announced the Fix Your Bike Scheme. The Scheme allows members of the public to apply for a voucher of up to £50 to help towards repair costs of their bike. The scheme allows people who have bikes in need of repair to get themselves back on the roads with the government providing some help towards the costs. The demand for vouchers was so popular that by 8am the morning after they were released the first set had already been allocated.
As people start their return to the workplace and life slowly gets back to a sense of something a bit more normal, it seems the idea the local councils and the UK government are trying to get across is that (much like all those new lockdown puppies), cycling is for life, not just for Coronavirus. They want the people who bought bikes in lockdown to continue to ride them and use them to commute when lockdowns are lifted. The changes being put in place are making it easier for them to do so and are more than welcome here. Let’s just hope Manchester City Council stick to their word and we see new cycle routes popping up soon.