A authorities scheme providing £50 bike restore vouchers will launch in England on Tuesday as a part of plans to spice up biking and strolling.
An preliminary 50,000 vouchers will likely be made available online later within the day on a first-come, first-served foundation.
The prime minister additionally introduced that bikes will likely be made obtainable on the NHS as a part of the technique.
However Labour stated lots of the authorities’s proposals had been taking too lengthy to return into impact.
It comes after the federal government launched its obesity strategy on Monday.
GPs in areas of England with poor well being will likely be inspired to prescribe biking, with sufferers capable of entry bikes by way of their native surgical procedure.
Recent Public Health England research discovered that being chubby or overweight places individuals at larger threat of significant sickness or loss of life from Covid-19.
Authorities statistics confirmed almost 8% of critically sick sufferers in intensive care items with the virus have been morbidly overweight, in contrast with 2.9% of the overall inhabitants.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated biking and strolling have “an enormous function to play” in tackling well being and environmental challenges.
“However to construct a more healthy, extra lively nation, we want the suitable infrastructure, coaching and help in place to offer individuals the boldness to journey on two wheels,” he stated.
“That is why now’s the time to shift gears and press forward with our largest and boldest plans but to spice up lively journey – so that everybody can really feel the transformative advantages of biking.”
Former Olympic gold medal bike owner Chris Boardman, now a coverage adviser to British Biking, welcomed the plans.
“There is a quarter of households in Britain who do not have entry to a automotive in any respect and we have public transport working at 30%, so 70% of individuals have gotten to search out one other method to journey or not go to work,” he informed BBC Breakfast.
“This may be not solely provision for individuals who do not have a automotive now, it is a session for the longer term.”
‘Repair Your Bike’ vouchers
The federal government’s “Repair Your Bike” vouchers are being launched in batches “to assist handle capability” and in order that the scheme might be monitored earlier than being rolled out extra broadly, the federal government stated.
They’ll usually cowl the invoice for the standard service and the alternative of a primary element resembling an internal tube or cable.
Throughout a Downing Road briefing in Might, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps stated the initiative could be “obtainable from subsequent month”.
However the Division for Transport (DfT) stated in July that it might solely start when upkeep outlets might deal with the anticipated spike in demand.
Halfords says it has 1000’s of slots obtainable every day for purchasers to convey their bikes into shops to determine potential faults which may very well be rectified beneath the scheme.
“We predict the federal government’s ‘Repair Your Bike’ voucher scheme is not going to solely assist people turn out to be extra assured about preserving their bikes maintained, however will assist pace up the biking revolution,” stated chief government Graham Stapleton.
The retailer previously reported that bike sales had risen by 57.1% within the 13 weeks to three July, as individuals sought to keep away from public transport throughout lockdown.
1000’s of miles of recent protected cycle lanes, cycle coaching for kids and adults, and the creation of the UK’s first zero-emission transport metropolis are additionally a part of the plans to advertise biking and strolling.
The initiative has been welcomed by biking teams and environmentalists.
They’ve lengthy argued that Energetic Journey – the brand new phrase for strolling and biking – fulfils twin targets of enhancing well being and well-being, whereas additionally decreasing emissions that hurt individuals’s well being and gas local weather change.
However they level out that the funding is lower than a 10th of the £27bn that the federal government beforehand introduced could be spent on new roads.
There’s now growing stress for that highway funds to be decreased.
AA head Edmund King informed BBC Information in April that some of the cash might be better spent on improving broadband.
And environmentalists have brought a legal challenge against the plans as a result of the development and use of the roads will enhance carbon emissions when ministers are dedicated to decreasing emissions.
A recent study instructed that huge carbon financial savings might be made by establishing cycle lanes in suburbs, for use by e-bikes.
‘As soon as-in-a-lifetime alternative’
Different measures to enhance the well-being of pedestrians and cyclists embrace strengthening the Freeway Code, enhancing authorized protections, growing lorry security requirements and dealing with the police and retailers to sort out bike thefts.
The plans will likely be funded by a £2bn funding introduced in February.
Mr Shapps stated it was a “once-in-a-lifetime alternative to create a shift in attitudes” to make biking or strolling a part of each day routines.
Matt Mallinder, director of the charity Biking UK, stated the plan “locations biking on the coronary heart of our cities and cities”, however he known as for much more funding “to actually shift gears”.
Kerry McCarthy, Labour shadow biking minister additionally stated that the Conservative celebration had “didn’t seize the chance this disaster has posed”.
“Though funding is welcome, cyclists will likely be rightly involved about how lengthy it’ll take to really put these plans into apply.”
Please embrace a contact quantity in case you are keen to talk to a BBC journalist. You can even contact us within the following methods: