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Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 18:18 GMT 19:18 UK
Government put brakes on cycling targets
Cyclist in London
Many people are still worried about the risks of cycling
The government has come under fire for abandoning targets for increasing the use of bicycles.

An all-party group of MPs has accused ministers of a fundamental lack of commitment to cycling.

Twice in the past, the government has endorsed a target of doubling the amount of cycling between 1996 and 2002.

But Transport Minister Lord McDonald has told the all-party group of MPs that the targets were never formally adopted.

The MPs - investigating the spending plans of the Department of the Environment and Transport - have said they were surprised by Lord McDonald's admission.

Instead the government has proposed a new target to treble the use of cycling between now and 2010.

Transport Minister Lord McDonald
Transport Minister Lord McDonald admitted targets were not adopted

But the MPs say that unless steps are taken to make cycling much safer they expect that this target will also be abandoned.

Cyclists in the UK are ten times more likely than motorists to be killed on the roads.

Only 2% of journeys in the UK are made by bicycle, while in countries like Germany and the Netherlands the figure is almost five times higher.

In June the first 5,000 miles of the 43.5m National Cycle Network was opened, which will eventually link almost every major town in Britain and run within two miles of half the population.

By 2005 this network is expected to be over 10,000 miles long.

The MPs' report on the spending plans also criticises the reversal of a promise to adopt a national target for encouraging walking.

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See also:

21 Jun 00 | Talking Point
Would you ditch your car for a bike?
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