Bicycle Association pivots towards advocacy, creates new fighting fund

Carlton Reid
Bicycle Association pivots towards advocacy, creates new fighting fund

The Bicycle Association is urging the government to spend more on cycling: "The trivial proportion of the transport budget currently allocated to cycling must be increased to at least 10 percent," said the BA's operations director Steve Garidis.

He added: "The UK badly needs a high-quality cycle network connecting urban centres, stations, schools, and workplaces."

The BA plans to extend the current Bike Hub levy scheme by extending its work to include outreach, advocacy and promotion.  The fund will become known as the Bicycle Industries Fund.

Members will hear of these plans at a Winter meeting in Birmingham next week. This meeting will also be told of new Bicycle Association stats that shows that the UK cycling market has an annual revenue of £2.6 billion, contributing over £500m in VAT in 2015. 

The stats are in a report compiled by Michael Freason, a director at economic and social development consultancy SQW.

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BA members were emailed with an extract from the report last night. Frearson will be fleshing out the figures in his presentation to BA members in Birmingham, with the full report due out next year.

Frearson estimates that the industry sustains 23,000 jobs.

He reports that youth ownership of bicycles declined 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2015. 

"Fewer than half of all primary school children receive Bikeability training, the modern cycling proficiency," said Frearson.

"Levels of cycling to school have not exceeded 2 percent for the past twenty years.  It is self-evident that without access to a bike nor the chance to learn, young people will probably never cycle in later life."

In 2015, Frearson developed an economic impact model and analysis of Devon's cycling trails for Devon County Council.

Between 2013 and 2015 he was a director of the Association of Bikeability Schemes, and is also a National Standard Instructor, and worked with Outspoken Cycle Training of Cambridge.

The Bicycle Association's Winter meeting will also be addressed by Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.

At the meeting the Bicycle Association will release a manifesto calling for a VAT exemption on childrens' bicycles, and increasing the current Cycle to Work’ salary sacrifice to enable the purchase of electric bikes.

The manifesto also calls for a "post-Brexit trade environment which keeps quality bicycles and related equipment affordable and accessible for the British consumer."

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