Olympians call for ‘everyday cycling’ investment in UK

Some of Britain’s top cyclists have written to Prime Minister Theresa May calling for the government to create “a legacy of everyday cycling”.

The group of Olympians – including gold medallists Jason Kenny and Laura Trott – said encouraging more people to use bikes instead of cars would be “the best way” to honour their success.

Team GB enjoyed a record-breaking Olympics and topped the cycling medal table at Rio 2016 for the third games in a row.

Signatories to the letter – including Mark Cavendish, Joanna Rowsell Shand, Becky James and Sir Chris Hoy – said the best way to mark their achievements would be to invest in cycling.

A “lack of leadership” has kept cycling as a mode of transport “in the slow lane”, they said.

Cycling “does not enjoy the government investment or political leadership given to roads, rail or aviation,” the letter added.

“Only networks of segregated cycle lanes in towns and cities across the country can achieve and influence growth,” it said.

The letter called for 5% of the government’s transport spending to go on cycling, saying this was the “only way” to give it “the priority it deserves”.

“Investment in cycling as a form of transport isn’t purely an investment in cycle lanes,” it said.

“It is an investment that will pay off for the nation’s health, wealth, transport infrastructure and the vibrancy of our towns and cities. It has the added benefit of just making it easier for ordinary families to get to work and get to school.

“Our athletes have inspired the country and now we urge the government to take cycling seriously as a transport option for everyone.”

Boardman, a former Olympic champion who is now British Cycling’s policy advisor, said cycling “isn’t only a sport”, but a way for people to get to school and to the shops.

The government is now considering feedback on the draft plan.

The Department for Transport said it was spending £300m on cycling funding – as well as a further £500m for infrastructure in local communities.

“The number of people choosing to get about by bike has grown over recent years and, following the success of our Rio Olympians, we want to see this trend continue,” a spokesman said.