Liverpool being ‘left behind’ on cycling infrastructure

Other UK cities and regions are racing ahead with cycling and walking infrastructure, leaving Liverpool city region ‘badly behind’, says Simon O’Brien in the latest Baltic Triangle Podcast. Tony McDonough reports

Simon O’Brien
Simon O’Brien, Liverpool City Region Cycling and Walking Commissioner


Liverpool city region’s six local authorities are being urged to drastically up their game by Simon O’Brien, the city region’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner.

In an interview with the latest monthly Baltic Triangle Podcast, Simon said Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton that they are being “left behind quite badly” when it comes to getting people out of cars and onto bikes.

Last year Simon, also a well known TV actor and presenter whose credits include Brookside and Coronation Street, pointed out that most journeys taken in cities are less than 5km and yet half are taken by car.

He added that just 2% of journeys in the Liverpool city region were taken by bicycle and 30% by walking. 

“The historic way of encouraging people to cycle in Liverpool and the surrounding region has been to paint a white line on the floor and say ‘there you go’. That is not acceptable any more,” said Simon.

He added: “They are now doing it in Manchester, they are now doing it in Leeds, they are now doing it in Birmingham. So Liverpool city region is really getting left behind quite badly on this kind of stuff.

“Leicester, as a city, has transformed itself with its cycling and walking infrastructure in the past five years, so it can be done if there is the political will and money to do it.”

Both Liverpool City Council and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have improved cycling and walking infrastructure, particularly during and since the pandemic.

Last year the council completed the first part of the transformation of The Strand on the city’s waterfront, creating a dedicated cycle lane that will eventually stretch from the south of the city up to the northern docklands and beyond.

In January the council said it was pushing on with developing a new ‘mobility strategy’ to make it easier to get around the city centre by different modes. And, in the last few days it has announced a new £330,000 children’s ‘learn to ride’ facility for Everton Park.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has already committed £50m to create a network of 600km of new and upgraded walking and cycling routes across the Liverpool city region. In January he committed another £1.4m towards new cycling and walking projects.

However, Simon insists that whatever is happening isn’t happening fast enough or on a big enough scale. He says the Government is now showing greater commitment via Active Travel England and this will be backed up with funding.


cycling, walking, bike, bicycle
Much more needs to be done to encourage walking and cycling, says Simon
cyclist, cycle lane
A cyclist on The Strand in Liverpool city centre. Picture by Tony McDonough


He added: “Always, you were going to different councils and they will say ‘yes, we really want to do this and we know we should be doing this but we just haven’t got the money’. That’s not the case any more.

“Liverpool city region has received, and will continue to receive, different tranches of investment if you show the willingness and the plans that will make it easier and safer to cycle and walk. So there money is there, it now needs the political will.

“So my message is that we have to do it, we have to do it quickly and we have to get going right now. The money is there so there are no more excuses.”

This month’s Baltic Triangle podcast also includes an interview with young Liverpool artist Sean Webster whose work is a familiar sight around the Baltic district. He talks about his artistic journey and his embrace of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to help to support his work.

Click here to listen to the full podcast

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Username field is empty.