oh, this’ll be where i got that impression about the thatcher years and cycling…

…that I discussed in the origins of shared use post.

Rodney Tolley's chapter on walking and cycling in Docherty and Shaw's Traffic Jam: ten years of "sustainable" transport in the UK (Policy Press, 2008):

Under the Thatcher administrations from 1979 to 1990, support for walking and cycling was almost non-existent. Writing in 1993, John Adams argued that government policy was 'clear, coherent and powerful'. It consisted of promoting an explosive growth in the modern means of travel (cars and planes) and phasing out the 'old-fashioned' means of movement, bicycle, bus and train. The bicycle was, he said, 'clearly heading the way of the horse and cart'. What he called the Department of Transport's 'most impressive achievement — the reduction of walking' — was largely undocumented because 'Department's statisticians did not consider walking to be a form of transport and did not collect information about it'.

Of course, the Thatcher government would not explicitly state that they were anti-cycling, and in fact published policy statements in the early 1980s that paid lip service to it, cited it as a solution to health and energy conservation issues, and suggested that they would "encourage" it — though of course, in no way as an alternative to their massive road and car growth policies. Almost identical to the statements made by Norman Baker on behalf of today's government, really.
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