DfT back on board with Bike Week funding

The Department of Transport has reversed its December 2002 decision to pull its £54k funding of Bike Week. The 2004 event - part-funded by the BA/ACT's Bike Hub - has been awarded a grant of £50k from the DfT, mainly because of the bike trade's willingness to raise cash through its own levy scheme. This unlocking of government cash for Bike Week comes on top of other DfT grants to cycling, all the direct result of the creation of Bike Hub. Perhaps those UK companies yet to join the scheme may now reconsider?
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The Department of Transport funded 2003 Bike Week with a grant of £56 000 but, in December 2002, said the 2004 event had to be self-financing because "the cycling industry derives considerable benefit from Bike Week and there is no reason why it should not make a contribution in return for those benefits."

The then transport minister John Spellar reached the grant withdrawal decision after taking advice from the National Cycling Strategy Board, chaired by ex-transport minister Steven Norris.

At the Cycling Forum for England held in March this year, BikeBiz.com asked Norris whether he would be reconsidering his advice to the DfT over the withdrawal of financial support for Bike Week.

"Bike Week has become an institution, it has started to ossify. There was a clear danger that the department [for Transport] was going to write cheque after cheque," said Norris.

"We need to think carefully what we want out of it, or it just becomes an annual ritual.

"If we let Bike Week become just a jolly, a chance to be with your [advocacy] mates from last year, we're not getting as much out of it as we can.

"We want to see Bike Week continue, but it has got to be reinvented. There needs to be more creativity."

The Department for Transport was convinced to cough cash for the 2004 event when the bike trade put a promise of £25 000 Bike Hub cash into the pot.

In confirming dates for Bike Week as June 12th to 20th, Nick Harvey, the event's national co-ordinator, welcomed the Department for Transport's decision.

Encouraging families to cycle together regularly as well as schemes to get lapsed cyclists back on their bike will be the main aims of the 2004 event.

With 1500+ events nationwide, Bike Week 2004 is expected to attract over 150,000 participants. All the major cycling organisations are already signed up and the event is co-ordinated through a Steering Group of 18 national bodies, including the Countryside Agency, the Forestry Commission, the National Trust, Ordnance Survey, and the Youth Hostels Association.

All cycling events and rides taking place during Bike Week can be registered free of charge at www.bikeweek.org.uk from next January. Local event organisers - including IBDs - are offered free public liability insurance to the value of £5m, promotional materials, certificates and a prize draw open to all participants.

"The BA and ACT have recognised that local Bike Week events do a great job in getting more people on to bikes. But the biggest impact comes from media coverage of the events themselves. Positive cycling messages reach millions of people of all ages, some of whom will be encouraged to try or re-start cycling for convenience on short journeys or to save money and to improve their health and fitness. The annual Parliamentary Bike Ride to the House of Commons will be given a new angle and a new prominence in 2004 in order to get more coverage on television and throughout other media."


Bike Week 2004 Funders:

Bike Hub fund: £25 000

Department for Transport: £50,000

Transport for London - Street Management: £10 000

Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development: £3000

Scottish Executive: £8000

Welsh Assembly Government: £4000

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