The Bicycle Association (BA) has called for a child cycling 'revolution' after a panel of MPs and officials gathered in Westminster last night.
The BA provided input both ahead of and during the event, and the meeting was chaired by Jim FitzPatrick MP, who heads the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fit and Healthy Childhood. Also in attendance were minister for transport Jesse Norman, MPs and representatives from Public Health England, TfL, senior officials from the DfT and others.
As well as working with FitzPatrick to encourage MPs, decision-makers and influencers to attend, the BA provided background research, policy suggestions and also the economic case for ensuring that children have the opportunity to cycle at an early age.
Its key policy suggestions were:
1) Full funding for Bikeability – the national cycle training programme
2) Cycling on the national curriculum
3) Government to work with industry on a programme to ensure all children have access to a bicycle
4) Promoting cycling to children actively and nationwide
Following the debate, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fit and Healthy Childhood will draw up a list of final recommendations for Government, and the BA has said it is optimistic that this will include many of the key elements called for at the meeting.
Steve Garidis, BA executive director, said: “There is a real recognition now that for the good of our children, and for the long-terms health of our whole society, active travel habits must be built into fit and healthy childhood across the country. This won’t happen overnight but this expression of political will from an influential cross-party Parliamentary group should have a real impact on policy development.
“We’re delighted that the Bicycle Association was able to play a strong part in making this meeting happen, as we continue to work to secure a pipeline of future cyclists for
the sake of a cleaner, healthier Britain.
“The UK cycle industry is eager to be part of this and to help deliver a healthier, cleaner country while also providing UK jobs and growth: policies which get children cycling are essential to capture this opportunity.”