Chris Boardman appointed Manchester cycling tsar

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Chris BoardmanImage source, Boardman Bikes
Image caption,
Chris Boardman will help to set targets to increase cycling and walking in Greater Manchester

Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman has been appointed Greater Manchester's first Cycling and Walking Commissioner.

The 49-year-old, who won individual pursuit gold at the 1992 Barcelona Games, was given the task by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Mr Boardman said: "Cycling isn't currently a big part of how people get around in the region."

Transport for Greater Manchester wants to see bike journeys increase across the region from 2% to 25% by 2025.

The new cycling tsar said: "There's a passion from all branches of local government and health to make it happen too but we're not going to enforce change - we will take people along with us.

"I'm going to spend several weeks talking to people to understand the landscape for cycling in Greater Manchester before setting a number of goals we want to achieve and timescales."

Safe to cycle

Jerry Cross, former president of Manchester Wheelers cycling club, welcomed Chris Boardman's appointment but said investment in cycle routes was necessary "to make ordinary people feel safe to cycle."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Making cycling safer is one of the key issues that Chris Boardman will have to address

He added that initatives such as Advance Stop Lines (ASLs) and cycle lanes were routinely ignored, often by police, and he called for the enforcement of existing and future laws.

"The aim would be to make the UK culture toward cycling safety the same as the rest of western Europe."

Rosslyn Colderley, North of England director of the charity Sustrans, said the appointment was "fantastic news" but agreed that regular investment was needed to encourage walking and cycling in towns and cities.

"Bike Life, the UK's biggest survey on attitudes to cycling, clearly showed that the majority of people in Greater Manchester want a healthy city where it feels safe and pleasant to walk and cycle to work."

Pedal power plans

  • A further 45km of new or improved cycle lanes to be completed by 2018
  • Four district centres to focus investment on cycle routes and parking
  • More cycle and ride facilities and transport interchanges
  • Improved facilities in and around schools and colleges

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