A network of major businesses – including Santander, Sky, GlaxoSmithKline, National Grid, British Land and The AA – have formed a national group to urge politicians to form an integrated transport strategy for cycling, British Cycling announced today.
In its first joint call for action, the group – brought together by British Cycling and named the #ChooseCycling network – has written an open letter to party leaders asking for commitments on funding and leadership ahead of the general election in May.
The letter marks the first time that businesses have addressed the need for political leaders to be bolder on cycling on a national scale. The network is today asking political parties to commit to a target of 10% of trips to be made by bike within 10 years and to ring fence 5% of Britain’s transport spend every year on designing cycling back into roads and junctions.
The #ChooseCycling network
British Cycling’s policy adviser, Chris Boardman, said:
“We’re delighted that so many major businesses and nationally recognised brands have come on board to join British Cycling’s #ChooseCycling network. The breadth of sectors involved demonstrates that this isn’t just about cycling, it’s about creating safer, more pleasant places to live and work and there is no logical argument against it.
“We’re just weeks away from a general election and now is the opportunity for party leaders to confirm some solid commitments on cycling in their manifestos. We’re at a turning point for cycling. As if it isn’t enough that active travel organisations are calling for bold decisions on cycling, now we have the backing of major British brands – with more due to join us in the coming weeks. This isn’t an issue that is going to go away. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and the other party leaders must demonstrate that they are taking cycling seriously as a legitimate tool to transform Britain’s towns and cities for the better.”
The #ChooseCycling network is today asking for the following commitments from party leaders:
1. Fulfil the requirements of the Infrastructure Act to create an adequate Cycling and Walking investment strategy with clear and ambitious targets by 2016.
2. A commitment to invest 5% of Britain’s combined transport spend every year into designing cycling back into our roads and junctions.
3. Setting a meaningful target, to make cycling account for 10% of all trips by 2025.
4. The creation and distribution of uniform design guidance – put together in consultation with world experts - to be followed by all local authorities by 2016.
GlaxoSmithKline’s head of environmental sustainability, Matt Wilson, added:
"As a healthcare company, we place as much importance on the health and wellbeing of our employees as the medicines, vaccines and consumer products that we supply to patients and consumers across the world. We have an established and successful cycle scheme in the UK for our employees but believe that with further investment and commitment from the government, GSK and other companies could take this even further, bringing significant health benefits to more people, while protecting the environment."
National Grid’s cycle safety campaigner, Antonia Dennis, said:
“National Grid fully backs #ChooseCycling and its aims. We know the benefits of cycling but sadly we are all too aware of the consequences of not being able to cycle safely. We have a strong campaign group within National Grid who are passionate about cycling. They promote cycle safety in schools and work with local communities.”
The network represents a rapidly growing number of large British businesses that have made a public commitment to support cycling. As well as calling jointly for culture change, the group will also share best practice expertise on how to encourage more employees to cycle to work and regularly meets to hear insight from leading experts.