Miliband inspired by visit to British Cycling and pledges support for better conditions on the roads for cycling.
The Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband spoke about the ‘fantastic work’ the sports governing body does during a visit to the National Cycling Centre today.
Speaking about British Cycling’s work to support cycling at all levels, Miliband said: “It shows what can be done if government works together with the private sector – alongside government and local authority investment, Sky have played a role in this. It is about the gold medals, but it’s also inspiring young people to get on bikes. That is just as important as supporting elite athletes.
He also endorsed British Cycling’s work on campaigning for better conditions for cyclists, saying “Safer cycling is a very important issue and it’s great that British Cycling is campaigning on it.” He added that he fully backs Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle’s proposal that a mandatory cycling assessment should be built into all future transport projects so that cycling is designed into infrastructure, rather than added as an afterthought.
Miliband said: “As somebody who is married to someone who cycles a lot in London, my wife Justine, it’s incredibly important that people have safe places to cycle. Every incident involving a cyclist, the terrible tragedies that can happen, is a reminder that there is a lot more to do to make cycling safer in our cities.”
He also heartily endorsed British Cycling’s ambition to make the UK a true cycling nation to rival countries like Holland, where the average person owns at least one bike and regularly uses it as a form of transport: “It is a sentiment that I strongly support” Miliband said.
The Labour Leader took great interest in the sport on his visit to see the velodrome and BMX track. Accompanied on his tour by British Cycling’s President, Brian Cookson, and Performance Director, Dave Brailsford, Miliband met local cyclists aged from 30 to 80 who were enjoying a session on the velodrome track. He then met Olympic BMX star Liam Phillips as well as coaches Grant White and Jeremy Hayes to watch a training session involving the Olympic Development Programme athletes and then watched a session on the BMX track involving local youngsters.
Speaking about the tour, Miliband said: “British Cycling is an amazing, amazing organisation and it was a huge privilege to meet Dave Brailsford and to talk to him about his approach. British Cycling is a model not just for cycling or for sport, but for what teamwork and good leadership can do.”