BA brings cycling to the masses - BikeBiz

BA brings cycling to the masses

The agenda at this year’s BA AGM was centred largely around bringing cycling to the masses – from children to commuters – and not a prospective biker was missed. Mark Sutton documents how the committee plans to deliver a two-wheeled revolution...
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As earlier reported by BikeBiz, Bike Hub is offering stacks of cash to between one and five projects aimed at bringing a sustainable cycling model, capable of being rolled out nationwide, to the table. But that’s not all the Bicycle Association is up to, as revealed at its late April AGM.

For the third year running, Philip Taylor takes charge as president, with Dahon’s Mark Bickerton now lined up as his eventual successor. Meanwhile, seven members have joined the association in the past year. The ongoing progress of Sustrans’ Bike It project led discussions, with the charity’s school travel director Paul Osborne revealing his aspirations to the committee.

“At present we have 42 staff working across 500-plus schools nationwide, producing some sterling results among some 90,000 children. They’re now of the belief that cycling levels have increased on the back of Bike It officer visits,” said Osborne.

Accompanied by Reigate and Baystead’s officer Gayle Ronson, the pair demonstrated to the BA how a combination of incentives, encouragement and long-term planning was boosting numbers, highlighting Sustrans’ own surveys containing some astounding figures.

According to findings, at the beginning of 2009 just four per cent cycled to school almost daily, with 49 per cent of kids stating they’d like to. Sustrans now believes that in schools which have had an officer, eight per cent of kids cycle to school every day, while those cycling at least once a week has increased from 14 to 26 per cent. To emphasise the gradual impact of the project, the numbers of those who ‘never’ cycle to school has fallen from 75 per cent to 55.

That’s a lot of new first time cyclists converted by Bike It.

Aside from the obvious numbers boost, shops local to schools with an officer benefit in many ways. One local retailer on Ronson’s patch visited a school offering free cycle maintenance and knowledge to parents. This resulted in further enquiries and ultimately sales for the retailer.

BIKEFORALL REVAMP
Cycle-advice portal Bikeforall.net, as edited by BikeBiz’s executive editor Carlton Reid, will be undergoing a makeover and address change to Bikehub.com.

Reid said of the revamp: “The new name will link better to the name for the levy. Bikehub.com is set to receive a full-on makeover, including all the latest social media bells and whistles. This combined with more content will make it far more accessible, generating more return visitors.”

STANDARDS
During his address, president Philip Taylor touched on CEN standards. Following the consultation period extension by the DfT, the BA expects a firm date for the adoption of the new guidelines to be set by 2010.

Taylor said: “It is expected that new legislation will be in place by the year’s end, although it is still very difficult to second guess what new legislation the DfT may propose prior to the publication of new standards. The Association is also working on new standards for trailers, where a draft standard has been circulated for comment by mid-July. An expected publication date for this is late 2009 to early 2010. The revised EPAC standard has also now landed (EN15194) and this will come into force on July 31st. Copies are available from the BSI.”

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