We are spending billions on building new roads, but we are well short on funding for cycling, according to Jenny Jones, House of Lords Green Party peer.
Jones states: ‘The evidence available shows that building more roads encourages greater vehicle use and a side effect of that is both pollution [what Jones refers to as an ‘illness of poverty’, with the poorest often trapped in the most polluted neighbourhoods] and congestion. It is madness to be speaking about millions for active travel projects, but billions for new roads.’
There is a pressing need for accessible cycling infrastructure that gives cyclists the confidence to go about their business. And Jones believes the steps taken don’t have to be big: ‘Numerous benefits are not immediately seen. If you close the roads with planters it’s good for bringing bees back and giving kids the opportunity to play in the street, as they should feel safe to do. They can bike to school far easier with traffic calming too. Small changes can have spin-off benefits. This is the way we’d like to keep moving things forward’.
To move forward, and give the idea of ‘active travel as a broad solution to the health of communities’ as much airtime as possible, Jones believes we need to present a ‘high-quality and well-researched’ case. ‘The pace of change’, according to Jones, is currently ‘just too slow’.