The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) is the latest government incentive to show their commitment to road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. It’s another acronym which may have people bemoaning the need for more strategies but CWIS could genuinely be something to get excited about. CWIS was legislated in February and is part of the Infrastructure Act 2015. What we need to know really is whether it is going to make a difference and whether it is something we really should be getting excited about.
What is CWIS and why does it matter?
CWIS has been designed to put cycling and walking on a more even footing with major roads projects. It has been enacted to ensure the Government is required to make steps favourably for the infrastructure of walking and cycling. It should make both modes of transport more favourable and should also ensure the government lays out the line for investment and the future of cycling and walking across the UK.
CWIS is also potentially a fantastic vehicle for moving forward on the recommendations that the annual spend on cycling should be at least £10 per head annually, moving up to £20 as cycle use increases predicted due to the investment.
Building a Better Transport System
The Infrastructure Act 2015 is designed to give Britain a better, safer transport system and the obligation to produce a CWIS means it has been officially recognised how important protecting and promoting pedestrians and cyclists is. It is also the first time cycling has been recognised as something which requires national investment on par with the commitment to high speed rail and major roads.
The inclusion of the CWIC is recognition that cycling and walking need as much attention as rail and roads and whilst no numbers have been shared on how much capital will actually be committed to it, this is something we’ll know when the next government comes into power and puts their Budget into place.
Whilst CWIC has been universally applauded there have also been a couple of concerns when it comes to the quality and standards of the infrastructure that will be built. Leading lobbying bodies such as Sustrans are looking to press forward with cycle-friendly design standards taking inspiration from those in Europe, particularly in countries like the Netherlands.
In 2013 109 cyclists were killed on roads across the UK and over 19,000 cyclists were injured. At Osbornes Cycling Injuries we represent cyclists who have been injured in a road traffic collision and witness first-hand how injuries can have a life changing effect on people’s lives. Whilst it is still very early days the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy means that the next government simply has to make commitments financially on both these modes of transport and this should hopefully mean that more people will be getting on their bikes with confidence in the systems in place to support their travel without the fear of being seriously injured in a collision.