A newly-created national body known as Cycling England has been established to better develop and encourage participation in cycling throughout Great Britain. Established as part of the Department for Transport's review of its cycling strategy and armed with a budget of at least five million pounds (1.43M Euro/ US$9.62M), Cycling England's priority is to change the manner in which the British government manages and delivers cycling policy, so as to obtain a better return on investment in cycling.
This investment includes not only the promotion of cycling, but also the creation and improvement of cycling facilities. In the next financial year, Transport for London is projecting a record spend of £17M (€24M/ US$33M) on cycling in London, while local authorities outside London expect to spend £46 million (€65M/ US$88M) on cycling facilities in 2005/06, an increase of 50 percent from 2000/01.
"By establishing Cycling England we are re-affirming the Government's commitment to cycling," said the Minister for Local Transport, Charlotte Atkins.
"Cycling is fun, fast, green and healthy. It can contribute to a wide range of government objectives - such as accessibility, sustainability, public health - as well as reducing transport congestion. The Government is already making unprecedented investment in cycling through local authorities, and Sport England and Cycling England will work to maximise the return on our investment."
The National Standard for Cycle Training - a successor to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) - is tabled as one of Cycling England's first priorities. The Standard's aim is to increase the frequency of that both children and adults ride bikes, and to improve the quality of the surrounds in which they ride in, with the wider goal of tackling the growing issue of obesity (no pun intended).
According to the British government's Chief Medical Officer, the average recommended weekly exercise is a minimum of one hour of moderate physical activity a day for children and 30 minutes a day for adults, at least five days a week.
Added Minister Atkins: "The new National Standard for Cycle Training will be a priority for Cycling England. We need to extend and improve training to give children and adults the skills and confidence they need to cycle on the road. Our aim is to get more people cycling, more safely, more often."