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Major British Businesses Urge Politicians to #Choosecycling

21st March 2015

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.

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.

About the #ChooseCycling network

Formed by British Cycling in March 2015, the #ChooseCycling network is a group of businesses that strongly believe more cycling would be good for their workforce and customers.

Meeting a couple of times a year, the group believe that the promotion of cycling and walking as everyday transport options are crucial to help business thrive, to encourage people to live healthier lives and to make Britain a more pleasant place to live.

There are clear benefits for our staff, our customers and our businesses in putting cycling at the heart of transport policy. People who cycle regularly have fewer days off sick, are more motivated and suffer from fewer of the serious conditions caused by a lack of physical activity. More cycling can help retail businesses on our high streets thrive. Studies in New York City – on the streets where cycling lanes have been installed – have seen retail sales go up by 150%.

Evidence shows that if people are presented with safe and accessible routes to their place of work, many of them will make that choice, saving them money, improving their fitness and cutting their journey time.

Members of the #ChooseCycling network are encouraged to share best practice about promoting cycling among their workforces. They also receive support from British Cycling on a range of cycling-related subjects – from providing better facilities for staff to delivering cycle training.

About British Cycling

British Cycling is the national governing body for cycling as recognised by the UCI – the international federation for the sport. Based in Manchester at the National Cycling Centre, British Cycling works across all levels and six disciplines of the sport (BMX, Mountain Bike, Cyclo-cross, Road, Track and Cycle Speedway), from providing the support and encouragement people need to get riding their bikes for the first time, to being home to the hugely successful Great Britain Cycling Team. Continued success at the highest level is inspiring a boom in participation across the nation. There have never been more opportunities to ride a bike, be it for fun or sport, and British Cycling is at the heart of this growth. British Cycling also works hard to represent cyclists' interests at all levels, including campaigning on important issues including road safety. As a membership organisation, British Cycling provides a suite of benefits and support to its members who currently number over 104,000. All membership revenue is invested back into cycling. For more information, visit www.britishcycling.org.uk

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