Bristol is Britain’s first cycle city

June 20th, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 20 (IANS) A 100 million pounds is to be invested to make the British take to cycling. And the effort began from Bristol which Friday became the country’s first official cycle-friendly city. The transport ministry wants to kill two birds with one stone - reduce fuel consumption and popularise environment-friendly cycling.

The investment will be divided between Bristol and 11 other towns to create infrastructure for cycling.

This translates into on-street bike rental networks, the offer of free bikes to people in deprived communities, state-of-the-art shower and locker facilities in the city centre, dedicated commuter “cycle ways” linking the suburbs and the centre, and an ambitious expansion in training for schoolchildren.

Bristol saw off competition from Manchester and Leicester for the title.

Helen Holland, leader of Bristol city council, described the award as “absolutely fantastic”, outlining plans to develop Bristol’s waterfront cycle route and to improve access and lighting to the extremely popular Bristol to Bath cycle path.

Between 3-4 percent of trips in the city are already made by bike, or approximately 12,000 journeys a day, a figure that has increased by 12 percent in the past year. The city’s target is to increase cycling by 30 percent by 2011.

The 11 towns which have been short-listed for investment include Cambridge, York, Colchester and Blackpool. These will become “cycle demonstration centres”.

Britain is thus the latest entrant to the cycle club of Europe. The champion is France with Paris called the cycle capital, followed by Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

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