Let’s save Britain’s lost cycle path network

Make Wealth History

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how London once had the beginnings of an electric taxi fleet, which was then lost for 120 years. Here’s another lost sustainable transport initiative that could still be recovered: Britain’s 1930s cycle path network.

Beginning in 1934, the Ministry of Transport began building cycle paths alongside new roads. They were separate from the traffic and often paved in red tarmac, and connected towns to new suburbs or ran next to new arterial roads. It made particular sense at the time. Fewer people had cars, and many more people cycled. In some parts of the country, over half of road traffic was bicycles. In rush hour that could rise to 80%.

The cycle path network grew all through the 30s, before coming to an abrupt end in 1940. The Second World War put huge pressure on government budgets in every department, and…

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