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Cycling plans for Northern Ireland welcome but speed them up

I REFER to the article headlined 'Minister sets wheels in motion on proposals to encourage more cycling' (News, August 28), regarding the Department for Regional Development's new Draft Bicycle Strategy.

It's fantastic to see the Government beginning to lay plans for the future of cycling. The release of this document shows that getting people travelling by bike is at the top of the political agenda.

But the Government must be bolder and paint a dynamic picture of cycling in Northern Ireland 25 years from now. There needs to be more detail on ownership of this plan, an indication of the funding required to achieve it and how success will be measured.

I am looking forward to seeing the delivery plan and hope that this will flesh out the measures needed to transform Northern Ireland into a cycling nation.

Sustrans is calling for an annual expenditure of £12.5m to make that happen, as well as greater emphasis placed on the Active School Travel Programme and a plan to address low levels of bike ownership – especially for those who are on low incomes or unemployed.

The strategy rightly points out that infrastructure alone will not deliver a cycling revolution. Safe routes combined with information and education, as well as lower traffic speeds, will allow us to become a healthier cycling nation.

GORDON CLARKE

Sustrans Northern Ireland director

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