A cyclist in Manchester city centre. Council bids for a £200m funding pot to boost walking and cycling must “take women’s safety into account”, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
A 2021 Office for National Statistics study showed half of women felt unsafe walking after dark in a quiet street near their home.
The department is aiming to make crossings and junctions safer and increase the number of families who walk to school. The government’s aim is for 55% of all primary school children to walk to school by 2025 – DfT figures show 46% of children aged five to 16 walked or cycled to school in England in 2021.
Schemes could include more paths in rural areas, new routes for children to walk to school and more inclusive street designs to support people using wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
The government agency Active Travel England is encouraging bids for the funds from local authorities outside London.
“Active travel is convenient, cheap, low-carbon and health-giving. It’s a choice we need to make sure everyone has,” said active travel commissioner and former cyclist Chris Boardman.
“Sometimes it only takes relatively small changes, such as crossings on school routes or convenient places to park a bike, to give us the option to walk, wheel or ride.”The funding was welcomed by charities and local authorities, but the department was criticised for conducting “costly competitive bids between areas”.Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at the charity Cycling UK, said local authorities would be relieved they could now apply for funding […]
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