Earlier this month, the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) held its last meeting before the summer recess, to discuss and lay out the industrial case for cycling.
APPCG co-chair Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, chaired the meeting, which saw the Bicycle Association (BA) present their findings and statistics to the room to prove the cycle industry’s value to the UK economy.
According to the BA, the cycle industry brings around £5.4 billion to the UK economy and provides 64,000 jobs. The presentation stated that a bike is sold in the UK every 10 seconds, with each bike sale contributing an average of £1,800 to the economy.
The BA also revealed that the cycle industry contributes some £3.1 billion to the UK economy in health benefits, £430 million in congestion benefits and £230 million in pollution benefits, while simultaneously performing a vital societal role in transport and health.
CIN spoke to Cadbury after the meeting about the figures, and asked her what more needs to be done to convince the Government to invest more in cycling.
“The big growth will be in e-bikes,” She offered. “The question is the level of growth in the UK, which will be lower than our neighbouring European countries unless the government provides some real incentive, like a grants scheme.
“We’ve seen some positive moves in terms of how the Cycle to Work scheme will operate, which looks like it is going to be extended so people will be able to buy a decent quality e-bike on it. But there’s some work to do; the Cycle to Work scheme isn’t applicable for a lot of people.”
Cadbury went on to explain how the cycle industry could work with the APPCG and other organisations to increase the number of people on bikes and e-bikes, in order to bolster the ‘industrial case’ for cycling put to the Government.
“Industry needs to advertise and promote ease of e-bikes in places other than bike shops,” She explained. “You need to have already decided to buy a bike before you walk through the door of a bike shop.
“My point of view is, they need to be in places where people might be thinking of buying a car, or community or town centre events. Places where people can ride a bike around and try it for themselves. Most people take the plunge for something new once they’ve tried it out.”
Cadbury added that the APPCG are planning to roll out taster sessions for e-bikes in the Autumn, and expressed that those in the cycling industry interested in partnering with the events would be welcome.