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Prime Minister David Cameron has launched an initiative that will provide the largest ever investment in cycling in England. The initiative includes plans to make roads safer for cyclists by improving existing cycle networks as well as building new ones and means that eight cities up and down the country will receive Government money for schemes.

Vintage picture with bicycle

Cameron announced that £77 million will be divided between Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge and Norwich in order to “make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up”. Greater Manchester (£20 million), West Yorkshire (£18.1 million) and Birmingham (£17 million) will receive the bulk of the funding to pay for upgrades and other improvements to road safety, creating segregated cycle routes in some areas.

Combined with local contributions, the initiative will take the total amount of funding for cycling up to £148 million between now and 2015, and will also take the investment in the eight cities to more than £10 per head per year. The initiative has the support of former track cyclist Chris Hoy, and Britain’s most successful Olympian was present when Cameron said that he wanted to start a “cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists”.

The Prime Minister went on to say: “Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar. Our athletes have shown that they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads.” The cash injection is intended to put Britain on a level-footing with countries such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, who are all known for their higher levels of cycling.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We have seen a significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the last few years, but cyclists shouldn’t be confined to the capital. This announcement shows we are absolutely committed to boosting cycling in cities and the countryside across the whole of England.”