Some of Britain’s best known businesses, including GlaxoSmithKline, National Grid and Orange, have thrown their weight behind a campaign to urge political parties to ensure they make provision for cycling in their manifestoes for May’s general election.
Grouped together under the banner Choose Cycling, they have been joined by other companies more readily associated with cycling such as Sky and Halfords as well as organisations such as the AA, CTC and Sustrans, in calling on politicians to commit to making Britain’s streets safer for people on bikes.
British Cycling, which launched a campaign under the same name last year, is co-ordinating the initiative, with an open letter sent to the leaders of the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties, as well as those of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and UKIP.
The letter calls for action in four key areas:
• Fulfil the requirements of the Infrastructure Act to create an adequate Cycling and Walking investment strategy with clear and ambitious targets by 2016
• A commitment to invest 5% of Britain’s combined transport spend every year into designing cycling back into our roads and junctions
• Setting a meaningful target, to make cycling account for 10% of all trips by 2025
• The creation and distribution of uniform design guidance – put together in consultation with world experts - to be followed by all local authorities by 2016.
British Cycling policy advisor, Chris Boardman, said: “We’re delighted that so many major businesses and nationally recognised brands have come on board to join the Choose Cycling 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 – 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 come on board with us in the coming weeks.”
He added: “This isn’t an issue that is going to go away. Party leaders must demonstrate that they are taking cycling seriously as a legitimate tool to transform Britain’s towns and cities for the better.”
In recent months, a number of major employers from the public and private sectors in London united under the Cycling Works banner to successfully lobby for Transport for London’s board to vote through schemes including the two segregated Cycle Superhighways that will cross the heart of the capital.
Some of those organisations, including law firm Allen & Overy and the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre have already pledged themselves to Choose Cycling, as have property companies Land Securities and Broadgate Estates – the latter two in stark contrast to perhaps the highest profile opponent of the Cycle Superhighways, Canary Wharf Group.
The fact that 160 employers signed up to Cycling Works suggests that at national level, Choose Cycling could gain some real momentum if it scales up in similar fashion at national level.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.