House of Commons Library

Cycling: FAQs

Published Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This paper is designed to provide information on some of the areas of cycling policy most frequently of interest to MPs and their staff such as government policy, funding, safety and the ‘rules of the road’.

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This paper only covers England: cycling is a devolved policy area. Information is available elsewhere for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Cycling is an increasingly popular mode of transport, particularly in urban environments where the roads are often congested and public transport overcrowded. It is also a ‘sustainable’ mode of transport, in that it does not require the use of petrol or diesel and has no negative effect on the environment. As such, successive governments, devolved bodies and local councils have been keen to encourage cycling, particularly as part of the commute into work when the surface transport network is at its most congested.

The Conservative Government’s policy is set within its broader framework of localism and decentralisation, giving local authorities powers to make changes to the road network and to build cycling infrastructure that best suits their local circumstances. A number of new funds have been made available for these types of schemes, following earlier cuts in overall local authority expenditure, and in March 2016 the Government published a draft Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy setting out its plans and funding to 2020.

Cyclists and cycling campaigners are keen to dispel what they consider to be ‘myths’ about cycling, such as it being inherently dangerous, that cyclists do not obey the rule of the road and that cycling receives a disproportionately large amount of government funding and attention compared to the benefits it delivers. Indeed, they argue that despite the promises of successive governments, cycling does not receive enough funding for the benefits it delivers, particularly with regards to public health.


Please note – this paper updates and replaces all other Library briefings on cycling: they have consequently been withdrawn.

Commons Briefing papers SN01097

Author: Louise Butcher

Topics: Cycling, Taxation

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