And thank you for that welcome.
I am delighted to be here for the inaugural Cycle Planning Awards.
An inspired initiative that celebrates excellence in the design and planning of cycle infrastructure.
And that recognises the work that you all do to support cycling across the country.
That work could not be more important.
As competition for space on Britain’s roads increases, it’s becoming ever more crucial to find new and better ways to manage traffic, create capacity and ensure safety.
So it’s right that your contribution is rewarded today.
Unfortunately I couldn’t be here earlier to attend the ‘Mini-Holland’ opening in Walthamstow Village.
But this is a great example of innovation and progress towards making Britain more cycle friendly.
Our priority in government is to provide the investment and support to drive the cycling revolution.
In our manifesto we promised to:
Double the number of journeys made by bicycle and invest over £200 million to make cycling safer, so we reduce the number of cyclists and other road users killed or injured on our roads every year.
That includes - through our Cycling Ambition Programme - transforming the infrastructure in 8 cycling cities by funding major new bike routes and road improvements.
But as we work together to get the nation cycling, we also recognise the challenges ahead.
In 2013, just 2% of all journeys in England were made by bike.
And we know that most trips currently taken by car are 5 miles or less….
In other words, short enough to be walked or cycled.
The good news is that over 40% of us already own bikes - so there is real potential for persuading more motorists to leave the car at home for those short journeys.
This simple change in the way we travel locally offers massive benefits.
Reducing car CO2 emissions, and improving air quality.
Cutting congestion, freeing up space, and helping local economies to grow.
Boosting our health and fitness, and reducing the strain on the NHS.
So it’s crucial that we make it easier and more convenient for people to jump on their bike.
By including cycling strategies into the work you do every day for the future development of cycling.
By embracing new technologies that will make it easier for people to plan cycle trips or hire a bike.
And by listening to the views of cyclists - and to those who have yet to make the transition from car to bike.
Across the country as a whole, people tell me that the main reason they don’t cycle is because they don’t feel safe enough on our roads.
For that reason, we have decided we need to ‘cycle-proof’ the road network…
Ensuring that cyclists are considered at the design stage of all new and improved roads.
So that we grow the cycle lane network and road junctions are safer.
We also want everyone to see what we are doing for cyclists and judge for themselves whether it’s working.
Which is why the Department for Transport has begun the first stages of work to develop a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy.
The strategy will set out our ambitions for cycling.
How much funding we are putting aside to meet those ambitions.
And will report on how much progress we’re making.
But back to tonight.
This is about progress that’s being made today.
A chance not merely to share knowledge, ideas and experiences…..
But also to celebrate the fantastic work that you are all doing to make the cycling revolution happen.
So can I congratulate all nominees for your excellent work.
You’ve shown how it is possible to make a difference….
With a bit of inspiration, determination and motivation.
So well done, and enjoy the evening.