A ban on pavement parking, high quality cycling infrastructure, a 20mph limit on local streets and an overhaul of the Highway Code are amongst measures recommended today (Thursday, June 28) in a new manifesto from an alliance of the UK’s major organisations dedicated to walking and cycling.

Pavement parking

The alliance, made up of the Bicycle Association, Cycling UK, the Ramblers, British Cycling, Living Streets and Sustrans, has a combined membership of more than 330,000 people and span every form of walking and cycling, from the school run to Olympic success.

Launching their ‘Moving the Nation’ manifesto at a major conference on cycling in Manchester today, they unveiled a new vision of a future where everybody in the UK can live, work and play in places that are ‘healthy, vibrant and that make walking and cycling the natural choice for short journeys’.

The alliance has outlined the five first steps it would like to see the Government take on board to realise their vision:

Speed - Lower default speed limits to 20mph for most roads in built up areas and 40mph for the most minor rural roads to make our roads and streets safer for everyone.

Space  - Adopt and ensure consistent application of existing ‘best-in-class’ infrastructure design standards to create safe, attractive and inviting places for people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle.

Safety - Revise the Highway Code to improve safety for people walking and cycling, particularly at junctions.

Priority - Prohibit pavement parking to create safer and more accessible streets.

Culture - Provide cycle training for all children during their primary and secondary school years and embed a culture of walking and cycling throughout the school curriculum.   

Speaking at the launch, the Chief Executive of Sustrans, Xavier Brice said: “For too long now our towns and cities have been designed around cars and motor vehicles, leaving them unsafe, unattractive and difficult to move around on foot or by bike.

“Sustrans advocated for the Cycling and Investment Strategy, and with the launch of the manifesto, we want to ensure it is strengthened so that walking and cycling becomes the natural and realistic choice of transport for everyone, regardless of age, gender and ethnicity.

“Today, we are setting out a tangible vision of what good would look like and are calling on the UK Government to take urgent action, to unlock the incredible benefits in terms of health and economy which walking and cycling can deliver.”

One in four cars on the road at peak time are on the school run. Lower speeds and a ban on pavement parking will help encourage more families to choose healthy and cleaner forms of transport for everyday journeys. This will help improve air quality in our towns and cities and embed healthy habits into the daily lives of children.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets

Also speaking at the launch was Chris Boardman, who last year was appointed Greater Manchester’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner by Metro-Mayor Andy Burnham.

He said: “Getting more journeys happening on foot or by bike has a transformational effect - as we’ve seen in many cities around the world.

“These asks make logical sense and will go a long way to realising our ambitions to create better towns, cities and neighbourhoods across the UK.”

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said: “More people cycling and walking will reduce congestion, lower the costs of ill health on the NHS, and make our local communities safer and more pleasant places to be. The Government’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is a step in the right direction but we need to do more.

“By speaking out for the first time with one voice, we have set out a clear vision for the future which will help our country become happier, healthier and greener.”

The vision set out in ‘Moving the Nation’ includes a number of areas of action, including: making walking and cycling the natural and easy choice for all short journeys; making sure every town and city is served by a core network of protected cycle routes and walking routes, particularly connecting people to green spaces; ensuring that every rail and bus stop has facilities that prioritise cycling and walking; making sure that every child is able to walk and cycle to school in safety and with confidence; and giving everybody an opportunity to take up walking and cycling, through programmes in schools, workplaces and local communities.

Aside from the five first steps outlined in ‘Moving the Nation’ the alliance is calling on the UK’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) to be strengthened, alongside walking and cycling’s place in the planned new Road Investment Strategy (RIS2). It’s also calling for long-term dedicated investment, to reflect a Safety Review carried out as part of the CWIS, and backed by charging for pollution.