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Chris Boardman: Government plan to encourage more bicycles to become a ‘no-brainer’

Encouraging the British to cycle to tackle obesity is a “no-brainer” and the initiative should have been implemented earlier, said Olympic racing cyclist Chris Boardman.

Oardman, who also serves as Greater Manchester’s cycling and walking commissioner, has supported the government’s 12-week health plans to be rolled out under the Prime Minister’s obesity strategy.

British Cycling policy adviser said the introduction of more separated lanes and better cycling infrastructure would ‘tick so many boxes’, both physically and mentally, as the country comes out of the lockdown.

The pandemic has given us the best time to try something like this, there is no better chanceChris Boardman

He told the PA news agency: “Obviously, more people want to cycle, so many have discovered the benefits during closing and have seen improvements in their physical and mental well-being.

“By introducing safer cycling routes, more people would be encouraged to continue cycling once the blockage ends and this would tick so many boxes not only in fighting obesity and other inactivity related diseases but also tackling air pollution and mental health problems.

“The government is getting a huge yes from me, and I’m not sure why this hasn’t been done before, it’s become a case of” why not? ‘

“It would ignore the health of the nation not to do it – it’s an inexpensive treatment for conditions like type 2 diabetes.”

Boardman, who received an MBE for bicycle services in 1992, went on to say that Britain’s desire to transform roads for bicycle routes outweighs the “vocal minority”.

He added: “The pandemic has given us the best time to try something like this, there is no better chance.

“It can be a kind of attempt before you buy a type of thing, try the changes on the roads and if people change their minds, we can go back to the old system.”