Watch out London – Liverpool is coming after your title as Britain’s booming bike city. A new cycle strategy, agreed by the City Council this week, aims for 10% of trips within the city to be made by bike by 2025.
In contrast to the city’s previous cycling plans, the new vision focuses on “cycling for commuting and short trips” rather than purely recreation and sport. The latter is seen as a quick win – getting at least 10% of locals cycling once a week by 2017, if just for enjoyment.
Liverpool’s Mayor, Joe Anderson, was one of the first politicians to sign up to the Times’ Cities Fit For Cycling manifesto.
The strategy admits that Liverpool’s cycle routes are not up to scratch. It takes the common approach of 20mph speed limits on back streets, and segregated cycleways on faster roads. It says:
“While investment has been made into the cycle network, much more is needed to ensure routes are continuous and are connecting to key trip generators, such as areas of regeneration, investment and employment. Many people will not start cycling unless vehicles are slowed and they can be physically separated from traffic on busier roads with speeds higher than 20mph. Safe crossings across busy junctions are required to connect 20mph areas. Links to and through the city centre are a vital part of this network. It must be the objective to make all of our roads safe for cycling, or to provide parallel routes where this is not possible.”
However, the document is light on detail as to how this will be achieved. Though published this month, it was initially drawn up for consultation last autumn, and therefore misses the new infrastructure guidance published recently by CTC, Sustrans, and Cyclenation.
The Liverpool strategy also restates the ‘hierarchy of provision’ that has been widely criticised by cycle campaigners. Supposedly a list of options to encourage cycling, the controversial hierarchy only proposes dedicated cycleways and paths as a last resort after “traffic volume reduction” and “reallocation of carriageway space”. Mark Treasure, chair of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, called this approach “woefully vague, even downright confusing”.
Councillor Tim Moore, Liverpool’s cabinet member for transport and climate change, summarised the strategy:
“This is a very important strategy which supports the Mayoral pledge of making Liverpool a cleaner and greener city. We want Liverpool to be the fastest growing city for cycling in the country with it becoming a popular, mainstream way of travelling.
“Already we have a record number of people using bikes, and the recent launch of the Citybike hire scheme will increase that figure significantly but we want to build on that by investing in our cycling infrastructure and encouraging more people to use bikes regularly. The strategy sets out very ambitious targets but they can be achieved and Liverpool will be a greener, safer and healthier city.”
You can read the strategy as a PDF on the liverpool.gov.uk site.