A powerful voice
As an industry, we can’t ignore politics. Cycling and the UK cycle industry face many urgent, near-term political challenges – the complex and deep implications of Brexit, for example, or the Vnuk case, which could mean compulsory insurance for e-bike users. Recent figures also indicate a long-term decline in young people cycling: that needs to be reversed by national level transport and planning policy changes if our industry is to have a strong future.
On all such issues, the BA works hard to put the cycle industry case. We have well-established relationships with relevant politicians and officials, particularly in the Department for Transport, and we support the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. These contacts can open up opportunities, too: for 2017, we’re eagerly embracing a new political willingness to promote e-bikes.
We have learned that the government is only interested in helping industries who help themselves, who self-organise, and who speak with one voice. The BA provides the cycle industry with that strong collective voice. We lobby hard to grow the market for us all.
Politicians have been especially impressed by tangible evidence of our industry’s proactive engagement in the form of the Bicycle Industry Fund (formerly the Bike Hub levy scheme), operated by the BA, through which the cycle industry has raised over £4.5m to date. Much of this has been invested into schemes supporting young cyclists. It’s opened up significant additional investment, too, in Government match funding.
To build on this work, the BA and its members have developed a strategic manifesto, combining advocacy, outreach and promotion to get more people, of all ages, cycling and to apply the Bicycle Industry Fund to best effect.
In cycle advocacy it is essential to work with others, so that Government hear a single voice. We are engaged members of the Active Travel Alliance, which brings together all of the main UK cycle advocacy organisations, and of CONEBI, the Confederation of European Bicycle Industries. Where our interests align we join forces in our lobbying work with other relevant UK industry bodies such as the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) and the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).
The larger our membership, the stronger our voice; joining the BA means investing in the future of our industry.