A £1.2m scheme to promote safer cycling and other alternatives to the car in Bournemouth has failed to attract government money.

Bournemouth Borough Council had applied for £820,000 from the Department for Transport towards its BESMArTER initiative, which was intended to build upon plans already being implemented.

Measures to reduce casualties among vulnerable road users would have included training for young pedestrians and for adult cyclists and motorcyclists.

There would also have been a media campaign to encourage road users to "respect each other‟s needs".

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The package also proposed marketing campaigns, work with employers on producing travel plans, a workplace cycle challenge, cycling festivals and a car club.

The "Boris bike" cycle loan scheme running at Bournemouth University would have been expanded to other locations and there would also have been accessibility improvements such as new crossings and improved links on key commuter routes.

The council's original BESMArT campaign had already attracted millions in funding to develop a cycle highway and new bus routes and build a velodrome at Slades Farm.

Ian Kalra, transportation services manager at the council, said the news was “very disappointing” but the council had already done well to secure £20m from government towards sustainable travel.

“We remain committed to improving road safety and will continue to implement various measures in order to make travel easier, safer and more attractive across the town,” he added.

Cllr Michael Filer, Bournemouth's cabinet member for transport, said: “The town is undergoing enormous changes in roads, junctions, cycle lanes and general moves to allow safer, quicker and more sustainable transport throughout the area. The evidence is on the ground at the moment, particularly in Castle Lane West.”

He said it was important to encourage cycling, especially as a route to school. “If we can get 500 students cycling to school, it will save 2,000 car journeys by parents collecting and delivering,” he said.

Jason Falconer, from the Bournemouth Cycling Forum, welcomed the work the council was already doing but said it was disappointing the latest package had failed to win support.

He said the amounts spent on cycling were “peanuts” compared with road-building schemes. “Our well-meaning local councillors are playing by the rules that the national government's imposed,” he said.

The rejection came at the same time as the government refused £1.1m towards the latest phase of the Three Towns Travel Choices plan proposed by Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset councils.