Q&A SESSION WITH PHILLIP DARNTON, PRESIDENT OF THE BICYCLE ASSOCIATION
How many companies are involved?
So far, 30 companies both members and non-members of the Bicycle Association who make and sell bicycles, parts and accessories are contributing to the Bike Hub. It is also financially supported by BikeBiz.com and most specialist cycling-related magazines and websites.
What about retailers?
It is hoped that all retailers will be involved. The ACT, who have over 800 independent bike dealer members, are working to get them to participate.
How does Bike Hub work?
The participating companies are directly contributing 0.1% of their sales value to the Bike Hub Scheme. Likewise cycle retailers will pay 0.1% on all their purchases, either off invoice or on a quarterly invoice basis.
Who collects the money?
The participating companies will pay the funds collected to an independent third-party auditor. Companies will be invoiced by the auditor quarterly.
How much will this scheme raise?
With at least 28 companies and the majority of independent retailers participating, it is estimated that about £350 000 will be raised in a full year.
Where will the money go?
The cycle industry will be funding three important schemes to support the future of cycling:
* A pilot project to encourage cycling among primary schoolchildren (Year 6).
* Support for National Bike Week 2004
* The construction of a web portal for all cycling websites
What is the primary schools project about?
The aim is to provide schools with all of the facilities and the training which they need to make it easy and safe for children to ride to school.
Bike Hub funding will provide professional, certified training with qualified trainers and organise secure cycle parking, safe routes to school, traffic calming measures and marketing support materials.
Can all this be done for £350 000?
No. This is the big achievement of the Industrys collaboration in Bike Hub. As a result of this initiative, the Department for Transport has agreed to invest significant additional funding to support these schemes, over and above existing programmes. So, Bike Hub will effectively unlock a major government contribution too, which will mean an extra £0.5m in the first year alone.
When does all this start?
Bike Hub started on October 1st.
The Pilot Scheme to encourage cycling in primary schools is in the planning stages, and will commence early in April 2004.
The web portal will be designed in Q1 2004, and will go live at the end of March 2004.
How is all this being managed?
The Bike Hub fund is managed by a small steering group, representative of all the participants, both suppliers and retailers, and the independent auditor.
The projects are being managed by different groups each with appropriate experience. For example the Schools and Skills project is run by Sustrans on behalf of the cycle industry while National Bike Week is managed by a representative steering group.
What difference will all this make to cycling?
In the 1950s, 37% of journeys were made by bike, now it is less than 1%. Cycling to school is now only a third of what it was fifteen years ago.
The cycle industry must act if we are to maintain cycling as part of everyday life.
The Bike Hub scheme aims to tackle this very serious issue. There is no quick solution to what is now a grave problem.
What does it mean to me?
These are big projects which will take some months to organise well. Thats why the first year Schools Scheme starting next April is a pilot exercise.
In 2005 we expect between 500-800 schools across the country to be involved. And in the medium-term, only if todays youngsters learn to ride bikes properly and safely, can we hope to see cycling thrive in 20 years time.