Campaign to Protect Rural England Standing up for your countryside

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Cycling Photo: © Michael Stokes/

Cycling is one of the most enjoyable and efficient ways for people to get around. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for people’s health. But all is not well with cycling in England.

Cycle traffic in Great Britain (Miles) with trendline 1949-2014 graph. For full data see Excel doc in the link above and below this chart

Source: Department for Transport, 2015

Cycling rates have tumbled over the past few decades as Government policies shifted to promote car driving and out-of-town developments. Now just 2% of journeys in England are made by cycle. There has been some small improvement over the past few years in areas like London but these has been offset by declines elsewhere.

Making cycling safe

Safety on the roads is an absolute priority for CPRE.

There is a lot of focus on cycling safety in urban areas at the moment and rightly so. How to tackle the threat posed by large vehicles has become a real focus. But much more needs to be done to improve safety in rural areas, where the majority of cycling deaths take place. On rural A roads the risk of being killed cycling is 15 times higher than in urban areas.

Our cycling vision

In CPRE’s Vision, by our centenary year in 2026 people in both town and country recognise the health benefits the countryside has to offer. Children engage much more with nature and people cycle more.

This vision is not one where England’s countryside is preserved in aspic. It’s a vision of a beautiful, living - and active - countryside. This is why CPRE places such a high value on active travel, like cycling.

Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy

Our biggest cycling success to date was securing a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy for England as an amendment to the Infrastructure Act. As a result, five year investment strategies will be introduced for cycling and walking, in the same as they already are for rail and road.

CPRE’s view

CPRE is campaigning for the following for cycling:

  • a minimum cycling spend of £10 per head rising to £20
  • safe crossings across and paths along busier roads
  • traffic management to prevent rat-running on minor roads, such as quiet lane designations and access restrictions on country lanes
  • 40 mph speed limits on minor rural roads and 20 mph speed limits in built up areas and villages to improve safety
  • investment in Rights of Way and greenways to create a vibrant network of cycle routes.

But we also need a wider range of measures, including:

  • More effective enforcement of speed limits and other regulations, with heavier, more consistently applied penalties for those convicted of dangerous, careless and inconsiderate driving
  • Communities on a human scale, where everything is within cycling distance and sprawl is avoided
  • Developing car-free areas wherever possible
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Hay field harvest

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