A vision for the future of cycling in Devon has gone before Devon County Council’s Cabinet earlier this week.

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Councillors are being recommended to confirm their commitment to cycling by supporting the key priorities and future proposals of the Devon Cycling Strategy.

More than £13million has been invested in Devon’s cycle network by Devon County Council over the past three years. This has helped to fund schemes on the Exe Estuary Trail, Gem Bridge near Tavistock, Redhayes Bridge over the M5, the Town Quay Connect 2 bridge in Newton Abbot and connecting paths to Kingsteignton, phase one of the Wray Valley Trail, and a section of the Stop Line Way from Kilmington to Axminster.

The Devon Cycling Strategy will plan for continued investment over the next five years. Consultation on the document is due to start later this month to enable the public and relevant bodies to contribute to the aims of the strategy before it is published later this year.

Its key purpose will be to get more people cycling and its initial priorities will be to:

• Provide a high quality, accessible cycle network, with improved facilities for cyclists.

• Give comprehensive information on cycling.

• Inspire people to take up cycling by promoting its benefits.

• Provide cycle training and enhance cycle safety.

With a 15 per cent increase in cycle trips across Devon, and 40 per cent growth in Exeter, over the past five years, the strategy will target a further 20 per cent increase in cycle trips in identified areas outside of Exeter over the next five years.

The council is already investing £13.9million on cycle infrastructure to 2015, supplemented with additional funding through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, developer contributions and other grants. The draft programme of schemes includes links from Sidford to Sidbury, Knowle to Willingcott in Barnstaple and Newton Abbot to Torbay and Bovey Tracey.

It is estimated that a further £5 million will be needed in 2015/16 and 2016/17 to support the development of infrastructure up until 2017.

The Cabinet report highlights cycling’s positive impact on the county’s economy – with Devon recognised as a prime destination for cycling holidays and breaks.

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