Bike Hub grants £10,000 to the Association of Bikeability Schemes

TABS is a trade association which works with the Department for Transport to ensure quality of delivery of Bikeability adult and children cycle training.

The Bike Hub levy fund has made a grant of £10,000 to TABS, the Association of Bikeability Schemes. Bikeability is ‘cycling proficiency’ for the 21st century, designed to give the next generation the skills and confidence to ride their bikes on today’s roads. TABS, made up of Bikeability delivery companies, aims to work in the interest of Bikeability schemes, and represents the view of the professional cycle training industry in discussions and decision-making activities with Government agencies and other public bodies. TABS’s ultimate aim is more people taking trips by bike more often and more safely.

Bicycle Association president Mark Bickerton said: “Bike Hub is all about promoting the future of cycling. The Association of Bikeability Schemes is the perfect organisation for us to work with to secure the best possible return on our contribution from Bike Hub members’ funds. Cycle training gets results that will last for generations to come.”

Isobel Stoddart, the development manager at TABS, said: “TABS is delighted to have been awarded a grant from Bike Hub. This year TABS has invested resources into developing our strategy for future growth, securing partners approval and involvement and building a strong new membership package. The grant from the Bike Hub will go towards essential core costs, including staffing, to expand our range of quality improvement services alongside campaigning activities.”

Earlier this year, British Cycling’s Chris Boardman welcomed the work TABS is doing:

“Being able to ride a bike confidently on road, with minimum risk, is an essential life skill for an active and healthy lifestyle. Bikeability has an important role to play in giving people of all ages, especially the next generation of young people and their parents, the skills and confidence to make everyday trips by bike. If we want to transform cycling in this country we need to do all we can to make a difference and make sure that the government is taking us seriously. I welcome the role of TABS in putting pressure on the government to put Bikeability in the national curriculum, as well as the importance of continued funding for Bikeability beyond the term of this current government.”

Bike Hub partners with Department for Transport for National Schools Award Scheme

Bike Hub, the levy fund owned by the British bicycle industry, is to work with the Department for Transport to encourage more cycling – and walking – to school. This was revealed last week by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The National Schools Award Scheme will generate a new national momentum for cycling and walking to school and is supported from the very top of Government. The scheme will bring together a number of national organisations which already have wide experience of working with schools in cycle training, walking projects, and in programmes to encourage behaviour change in travelling to school. The aim will be to capitalise on, and enhance, existing schemes, such as the “Big Pedal” and Cycling Scotland’s “Cycling Friendly Schools”, as well as Walk to School Week from Living Streets.

Phillip Darnton, executive director of the Bicycle Association, said:

“We are very pleased to be working with the DfT to develop the scheme; as yet we have not settled any of the details. We are planning to work with TfL, Cycling Scotland, Living Streets and, of course, with Sustrans who already run the Big Pedal with funding from Bike Hub. We are also engaging with the Youth Sports Trust, the Association of Bikeability Schemes and other organisations such as the CTC to design a scheme which will appeal to as many schools as possible up and down the country.”

Running since 2003, the Bike Hub levy is voluntary, paid by the majority of UK bike shops and suppliers. About £400,000 is raised each year with contributions supporting cycling participation projects across the UK, especially youth projects. Sustrans’ Bike It project, seed-funded by Bike Hub in 2004, now has over 70 full-time officers working in over 700 schools each year. Bike Hub also created a free cycle satnav smartphone app to help people find and follow the best routes for bikes.

20mph zones & cycle infrastructure improvements would get more kids out on bikes in hols, says AA

With school holidays starting this week, a new AA Streetwatch study reveals that 94 percent of AA members think that children should walk more but only 56 percent believe their neighbourhood is safe enough to do so. More than 22,000 AA Streetwatch volunteers were surveyed.

Encouraging kids to cycle more was supported by 76 percent of the Streetwatchers. But only 31 percent felt their local streets offered a secure enough environment.

Although the responses are broadly similar among men and women, across the age ranges and from region to region, the view from different social backgrounds is markedly different. Between 92 percent and 95 percent of AA Streetwatchers across all socio-economic groups agree that children should be encouraged to walk more. However, while up to 59 percent of those in better-off neighbourhoods consider their local roads safe enough for their children to play and explore on foot, confidence in less well-off neighbourhoods drops as low as 45%.

For example, Luton came out as the least safe place for children to walk locally, whilst the more affluent St Albans, 12 miles down the road, was in the top five safest areas.

Survey respondents from lower socio-economic groups were slightly less keen for children to take to their bikes, but the 71 percent of them who favoured encouraging kids on to bikes still compared well with 78 percent in the top ‘professional, higher managerial’ band.

Even so, in terms of the perceived safety of young cyclists on local roads, the gap between the richer (35 percent) and poorer neighbourhoods (27 percent) wasn’t as big as for children being allowed to roam around as pedestrians.

Edmund King, AA president, said:

“The findings from our AA Streetwatch volunteers backs up previous research that shows children in inner-city areas are at much greater risk. They make more journeys on foot and spend more time playing in the street because there are fewer playing areas. There are also more cars parked in the street, reducing visibility and making crossing the road more hazardous. They also tend to live on busier roads rather than in the leafy suburbs.

“It is a shame when safety fears constrain freedoms and the social and physical development of young people. Many communities have organised themselves to provide activities and supervision to reduce the chances of a mishap.

“The AA has campaigned for road safety and Bikeability to be included in the national curriculum for all primary school children. Beyond that parents can help by establishing some boundaries and rules at the start of the school holidays. And, with many children having their own mobile phone, the chance to check first with mum or dad before doing something or going somewhere out of the norm is a good discipline.

“We also believe that targeted 20mph limits and junction and cycle infrastructure improvements will help encourage parents to let their youngsters venture out on two wheels.”

In the 1930s the AA called for a segregated cycle network that included Dutch-style cycle underpasses. The 1930s equivalent to Edmund King said: “The [cyclist] would pass under the carriage-way, come up on to the bank and join the other cycle track which goes continuously along the arterial road…You can get complete segregation of …traffic…”

Bike It BMX scheme combatting gang culture in London

A new cycling scheme is helping a school in East London keep kids away from gangs. The Sustrans-delivered Bike It scheme at Bow Boys school in Hackney uses a BMX pump track built as part of London 2012 Olympics legacy project managed by Access Sport. Bike It is a national school cycling initiative originally seed-funded by the UK bicycle industry via the Bike Hub levy.

The Bow BMX club holds after-school sessions each Thursday involving 17 children from years 7 to 9. Sustrans aims to roll out the initiative to other schools in deprived areas in London’s Olympic Boroughs, but needs to secure £200,000 in funding.

Sustrans Bike It Officer James Scott said: “Cycling is great way for kids to get active. Iit improves their health, helps them focus at school and boosts their self esteem. The BMX Club is a fantastic achievement for Bow Boys.

Dan Pitt, PE teacher at Bow Boys and Sustrans’ Bike It champion said: “Bow Boys strongly encourages healthy lifestyles for our students and believe cycling is a fantastic way to get active.

“We are always looking to expand opportunities for our students and hope that the BMX Club will help to address the gang culture in Tower Hamlets while providing students with a great sense of achievement.”

The Bike It project, seed-funded by Bike Hub in 2004, now has over 60 full-time officers working in over 700 schools each year. Running since 2003, the Bike Hub levy is voluntary, paid by the majority of UK bike shops and suppliers.

Cycling increases by 18% on National Cycle Network

Sustrans reports that 2011 saw the biggest ever increase in cycling on the National Cycle Network, with 40 million extra journeys made on bike than in 2010. This is according to a new report from Sustrans called ‘Cycling Revolution’[PDF] released by Sustrans to mark the start of Bike Week.

The report highlights how 484 million journeys were made by bike or foot on the network of paths and quiet streets in 2011, bucking the trend of a national decline in cycling and walking on UK roads, as reported by National Statistics.

A third of cyclists now using the National Cycle Network could have driven but chose not to, relieving 52 million car journeys from already-congested roads.

Traffic-free walking and cycling routes pay back four times more than they cost in less than ten years – a much higher return on investment then other forms of transport.

Sustrans is calling on the Government to recognise the economic benefits of cycling and walking and invest heavily in this area to help turn the tide on rising levels of obesity and sky rocketing petrol prices.

Sustrans’ Chief Executive, Malcolm Shepherd said:

“Cycling and walking are the answers to our rising petrol prices and expanding waistlines, but we need safe routes to feel comfortable travelling by bike and foot.

“People across the country are crying out for routes where they can get off the roads and make safe, healthy, cheap and green journeys.

“It’s time the Government had the foresight to properly fund cycling and walking.”