New minister commits to active travel at Bike Week launch

The new Transport Minister has confirmed his support for active travel at the launch of Cycling UK’s Bike Week.

Michael Ellis MP, who was appointed last Thursday, taking over from Jesse Norman, was making his first official appearance since assuming office.

Speaking to the conference of MPs and cycling advocates in London, the new Transport Minister said he was committed to increasing levels of walking and cycling for the benefit of the nation’s health.

“I am utterly convinced of the wide range of benefits that active travel brings,” he said.

I am utterly convinced of the wide range of benefits that active travel brings.

Michael Ellis MP, Transport Minister

“How could one not support active travel, not just for health reasons and wellbeing but by bringing greater mobility to all and by helping create places where we want to live and work.”

Setting off on the All Party Parliamentary bike ride

The launch event welcomed professionals from the world of cycling, senior leaders and decision makers, to discuss opportunities to increase everyday cycling for everyone.

After the Minsters address, MPs and guests took to the London streets on the annual All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Bike Ride. The event concluded with a cycling summit.

Paul Tuohy, Cycling UK’s Chief Executive welcomed the new minister to his post and urged him to work across Government departments to find the funding to help increase the number of people cycling. 

He said: “Leadership is what we need to deliver more cycling in the UK. Now is the time to call upon the new Transport Minister to dare to bring home the vision of making cycling for everyone.”

The event was hosted by TV presenter and journalist Laura Winter and included presentations from Simon Smits, the Dutch Ambassador, Lee Craigie the Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland and Joy Anibaba, Joyful Bellas and Fellas Cycling Club. 

Adam Clarke, Deputy Mayor of Leicester City emphasised the need to prioritise making space for people. 

“We are making the most of limited space, putting people and place at the heart,” he said. “Leicester is the city that can do it, we want to be the most people friendly city in this country.”

We are making the most of limited space, putting people and place at the heart.

Adam Clarke, Deputy Mayor of Leicester City

Other speakers at the summit discussed the environmental impact of increased cycling numbers. Dr Tom Porter, Consultant in Public Health Medicine said: “We have to talk about radically different solutions to meet our carbon dioxide emission commitments.

“The public sector has to take leadership to address the problem.” 

Each year, Bike Week (8 – 16 June) encourages every day cycling for everyone and is set to add another 300,000 people to the five million who already cycle three times or more a week. 

Across the country, hundreds of great events will take place, suitable for cyclists of all ages and levels of experience, from family friendly rides to training; and cycle maintenance to bike breakfasts, even naked bike rides – providing accessible and fun opportunities for people to get back into the saddle for the summer.

Posing for a photo after the Parliamentary bike ride to kick off Bike Week 2019