British Cycling was invited on to the EU stage for the first time at a major European conference in Brussels, Belgium yesterday to address some of the most urgent issues for cities striving to encourage more people to ride their bikes.
Focusing on the growing impact of cycling in urban spaces, the forum met to discuss social and economic challenges, from climate change to cycle infrastructure, road safety and cycle hire.
Stewart Kellett, British Cycling's Director of Recreation and Partnerships, who attended as part of an expert panel, spoke about the demonstrable success of British Cycling's work with principal partner Sky in driving mass participation of cycling in cities:
"Our evidence shows that promoting greater participation in cycling can bring not only social but economic benefits for cycling in Britain. It's evident that through our Sky Ride campaign we are influencing real behavioural change by encouraging people to ride their bikes, using events and recreational cycling programmes as a catalyst for that.
"We know that if we get more people cycling more regularly, they become more confident and their likelihood of commuting by bike increases. By 2012, we're set to have inspired over 600,000 people to start cycling once a month, and 230,000 to start cycling to work, as a result of the Sky Ride programme. Our research has shown that each one of these new cyclists is worth £230 a year to the UK economy."
The conference marked an important milestone for British Cycling, in its commitment to the development of creating cycle-friendly cultures, both at home and at a European level.
Stewart Kellett said: "Our contribution to yesterday's conference demonstrates that not only does the organisation engage audiences in cycling through impressive medal hauls, but through the strength of our partnership with Sky we're being consulted to provide opinion and insight about contemporary cycling issues on the European stage. It's the first of many exciting steps towards our long-term commitment to addressing the issues that really matter to our members."