Cycling star Chris Boardman wants more from cities and civil servants in promoting bike use, claiming the pace of change is ‘painfully slow.’
The Olympic champion, Greater Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, is the brainchild of a scheme that plans to pump £1.5bn into a web of cycling networks around the city.
But the UK consistently ranks as one of the least bike-friendly nations in Europe and Boardman feels the sluggishness of city officials are contributing to that.
“Every active country in the world has a good transport infrastructure – they have an option that is attractive,” he said.
“We don’t. You can’t push people out of the car unless there’s an alternative.
“It’s quite complex, but political leaders need to enable their officials. A political leader can say what they like about wanting to do things but officers are unsure about making those big changes.
“For that civil servant, the person in the middle, this is their mortgage and they don’t want to do anything risky because their job is on the line.
“We’ve given cities the tools to do it and it’s changing but it is painfully slow.”
OVO Energy is the UK’s leading energy provider and the Title Partner of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
This summer, OVO Energy has been on a mission to inspire more people to get our on their bikes, by challenging the barriers to cycling participation; namely road safety.
A national series of Night Ride events paved the way for more people to feel confident on the roads, and the OVO Energy Innovators programme has been harnessing technology and innovation to encourage increased numbers of cyclists.
In the process, OVO Energy is hoping to inspire people to adopt low carbon habits, so that collectively, a zero carbon future can be a reality.
Boardman feels events such as these are vital for making the public feel more secure on the road and getting Brits back on their bikes.
“Those events are so important, they’re the catalyst and the hub of the wheel,” he said.
“It’s the bit that let’s those other things happen. It’s a framework where lots of other things can happen and enable us to show a bicycle can be more than just going to the shops.
“Sometimes you need a reason to try it. Something as frighteningly subtle as a reason to go can be the difference between masses of people doing something and not doing it.
“This is the opportunity we have to let people have a go in a place where it’s secure and there’s lots of people doing it.”
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