David Cameron is to announce the largest injection of public money into cycling in England, with support from Britain's most successful Olympian, Chris Hoy. The £77m fund is designed to promote cycling in eight cities in an effort to put Britain on a level footing with countries known for higher levels of cycling such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The cash will pay for upgrades and other improvements to help cyclists at 14 locations on the trunk road network where major roads have been identified as posing an obstacle for bike journeys.
Flanked by six-time Olympic champion cyclist Hoy, Cameron will say: "Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high – now we want to see cycling soar. Our athletes have shown they are among the best in the world and we want to build on that, taking our cycling success beyond the arena and onto the roads, starting a cycling revolution which will remove the barriers for a new generation of cyclists.
The £77m, divided between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Norwich, will help improve existing cycle networks and pay for new ones, creating segregated routes in some areas. Greater Manchester (£20m), West Yorkshire (£18.1m) and Birmingham (£17m) will between them receive the bulk of the funding. Cameron will say the government "wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up".
The government said it takes the total new funding for cycling, including local contributions, to £148m between now and 2015, and investment in the eight cities to more than £10 per head per year, the base figure recommended by the all-party parliamentary ccling group and national cycling charity CTC. As part of the overall funding package, four national parks - New Forest, Peak District, South Downs and Dartmoor – will receive £17m between them.
The government is also calling on councils to "up their game" to deliver infrastructure that takes cycling into account from the design stage.
The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin ,said there had been significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the past few years "but cycling shouldn't be confined to the capital".