Here's the press release. BikeBiz.com is now back in Newcastle following the Bristol the launch. Report and more pix to follow...
CYCLING ENGLAND AND A NEW NATIONAL STANDARD FOR CYCLE TRAINING
A new national body to plan and co-ordinate the development of cycling across the country and a new National Standard for Cycle Training was announced today by the Minister for Local Transport, Charlotte Atkins.
The new national body, Cycling England, will have a budget of at least £5m a year for the next three years to allocate to cycling programmes. Cycling England will change the way that the Government manages and delivers cycling policy to get better value from cycling investment.
Investment in cycling has greatly increased in recent years. In 2005/06, local authorities (outside London) expect to spend £46m on cycling facilities - up by 50% from 2000/01, while Transport for London is projecting a record spend of £17m on cycling in London in 2005/06.
Cycling England will work to build on the success stories of towns such as Bristol, Hull, London and York to ensure that this greater investment in cycling leads to increases in cycling across the country.
One of Cycling England's first priorities will be to promote the new National Standard for Cycle Training - a successor to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (RoSPA) Cycling Proficiency. The new National Standard aims to increase the amount of cycle training, both among children and adults, and improve the quality and relevance of training.
Charlotte Atkins said:
"By establishing Cycling England we are re-affirming the Government's commitment to cycling. Cycling is fun, fast, green and healthy. It can contribute to a wide range of government objectives - such as accessibility, sustainability, public health - as well as reducing transport congestion.
"The Government is already making unprecedented investment in cycling through local authorities and Sport England, Cycling England will work to maximise the return on our investment.
"The new National Standard for Cycle Training will be a priority for Cycling England. We need to extend and improve training to give children and adults the skills and confidence they need to cycle on the road. Our aim is to get more people cycling, more safely, more often."
Notes to editors
Cycling England has been established as part of Department for Transport's review of its Cycling Strategy which was published on Thursday 10 March 2005. A full version of the review is available at Delivery of the National Cycling Strategy: A review
Cycling England will be supported and directed by a cross-government group including representatives from the Department for Transport (DfT), Department of Health (DH), Department for Education and Skills (DfES), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS)/Sport England and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).
On Wednesday 9 March 2005 the DH published Choosing Activity: a physical activity action plan which sets out, for the first time, coordinated cross-Government action to promote physical activity and sport nationwide. This includes school PE and sport and local action to encourage activity through sport, transport plans, the use of green spaces and by the NHS providing advice to individuals on increasing activity through the use of pedometers.
Increasing levels of physical exercise are key if obesity is to be tackled. The Chief Medical Officer recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity each day for children and 30 minutes a day for adults at least 5 days a week.
Members of Cycling England:
Cycling England is made up of experts in transport policy, engineering, public health, the cycle industry, local government, cycle sport, cycle training and education. They are:
Phillip Darnton (chair) - was Chairman and Chief Executive of Raleigh plc for two years following successful career with Unilever plc. Also President of the Bicycle Association, which represents the cycle industry.
Lynn Sloman (sustainable transport) - transport consultant, formerly with Transport 2000 and specialist advisor to the Board of Transport for London
Dr Alison Hill (health) - Programme Director South East Public Health Observatory
Christian Wolmar (integrated transport policy) - writer and broadcaster specialising in transport
John Grimshaw MBE (engineering) - Director and Chief Engineer, Sustrans
Peter King (sport) - Chief Executive of British Cycling, the key cycle sport body
Kevin Mayne (training) - Director of the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC), the National Cyclists' Organisation
One education expert and one local transport expert will be appointed in due course.
The National Standard for Cycle Training
DfT has sponsored work involving a group of more than 20 road safety and cycling organisations to develop new standards for cycle training.
These groups also comprise the Cycle Training Reference Group (CTRG), convened by the cyclists' organisation, CTC and the Local Authority Road Safety Officers Association (LARSOA). The result is the new National Standard document. Available at: Child Cyclist Training National Standard and Guideslines
The National Standard has three levels:
Level 1, Beginners and basic cycling skills - held off-road and teaching children how to control, balance and manoeuvre;
Level 2, Introduction to on road cycling - held on quieter roads in groups, children will learn where to position themselves when riding on the road and how to observe traffic, signal, turn/manoeuvre safely and basic Highway Code;
Level 3, Advanced cycling - held on busier roads to teach skills required for making longer journeys and to develop strategies to deal with all types of road conditions - e.g. roundabouts, traffic lights, multi-lane roads.
The Standards describe the outcome of the training and can be delivered through different schemes. So they can be applied to child or adult cycle training. Where applied to child cycle training, the training ages for the different levels would typically be 7 years (level 1), 9/10 years (level 2) and 11/12 years (level 3).
Currently, cycle training is received by only around one-third of children
DfT is committed to the following steps:
to formalise a curriculum and accreditation body - a role for the CTRG. CTRG will become the 'governing body' for cycle training, with formal reporting lines to Ministers and a formal membership, comprising local authority, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and commercial training interests;
build capacity through subsidised instructor training and accreditation of training schemes and centres;
provide a help desk and web database of trainers to support local authorities, schools and parents. DfT has agreed to fund the cyclists' organisation CTC to provide this service.