Six campaign groups have joined forces to get more people walking and riding, and BikeBiz explores how they could pave the way to making roads safer
Alexander MichaelDec 20, 2018
The world is changing, fast. Technological advances in transport and communication, political upheaval across the western world, and the ever-emerging reality of climate change are all forcing constant revaluation from the leaders of all sectors. The need to rethink tactics is not only essential in business, but also in campaigning.
Against this backdrop of change, transport and cycling activists from some of the most prominent organisations in Britain have reacted by joining forces to get more people walking and riding. But why form an alliance of six campaign groups, with a combined membership of more than 300,000?
One of the institutions involved is national sustainable transport charity Sustrans, the organisation who brought about the introduction of the National Cycle Network (NCN) in 1995. Sustrans was established in 1977 in Bristol, with the simple aim of improving conditions for people walking and cycling.
The charity’s work across the UK now involves maintaining parts of the NCN, campaigning for safer cycling and walking infrastructure, and advising authorities on sustainable transport policy. Now Sustrans also forms part of the ‘Moving the Nation’ alliance, which was unveiled at the Cycle City conference in Manchester in June.
Policy and public relations director at Sustrans, Steve Brooks, explains why the charity became involved: “We, along with other partner organisations, have a common understanding of the barriers to get more people walking and cycling. There’s a broad range of organisations involved – from people thinking about pedestrian safety to people thinking about where the next Geraint Thomas will come from.
“One of the most exciting things is it brings together those partner organisations. We’ve got 300,000 members between us. We can flex more muscle.” Brooks says the partners can now present a unified front when lobbying decision-makers, including the Department for Transport (DfT).
The alliance is made up of Sustrans, national cycling organisations the Bicycle Association, British Cycling and Cycling UK, as well as walking charities the Ramblers and Living Streets. Born after conversations between chief executives, the coalition launched its ‘Moving the Nation’ manifesto in Manchester this summer, outlining the first five steps it would like to see the Government take to improve cycling and walking provision.
Among those supporting the manifesto is Olympic gold medallist turned cycling ambassador Chris Boardman, recently appointed walking and cycling commissioner for Greater Manchester. Boardman says: “Getting more journeys happening on foot or by bike has a transformational effect, as we’ve seen in many cities around the world.
“These asks make logical sense and will go a long way to realising our ambitions to create better towns, cities and neighbourhoods across the UK.”