Making the industrial case for cycling
Policy makers care deeply about economic contribution and jobs, so at the heart of the BA’s advocacy work is what we call the “industrial case for cycling”. As the industry association, the BA is uniquely placed to make this case.
Evidence of the UK cycle industry’s economic contribution is esesential for our credibility. That’s one of the main reasons we developed the BA Market Data Service to gather superbly accurate and detailed sales data for the UK.
A second pillar of evidence for our “industrial case for cycling” was commissioned by the BA from respected consultancy Transport for the Quality of Life. They delivered a foundational piece of research to quantify the economic contribution of our industry. They showed this to be at least £5.4 billion/year, supporting 64,000 jobs – making cycling bigger than the steel industry – and this was widely picked up by national and specialist media. Download the report here.
The “industrial case”, together with our “trusted advisor” approach (see “Principles” below) have been remarkably successful, and we now have access to and close relationships with both politicians and officials at the highest levels of Government, and especially within the Department for Transport.
A key success came with the publication of Gear Change in July 2020 – in which the Government committed not only to spending £2 bn on cycling (largely for infrastructure) but also to implementing many of the items for which the BA has consistently advocated: a national e-bike incentive scheme, support for cargo bikes, action on cycle theft and more.
The local industrial case
The Bicycle Association is now developing a toolkit to enable local cycle advocates (both within the industry and beyond) to put a local industrial case for cycling to city or regional decision-makers. More details will follow here shortly.
Our advocacy mission
The BA works to a clear, focused strategy based around three key ‘pillars’:
- Securing a strong, united and influential industry
- Giving every child the opportunity to cycle
- Making cycling an everyday choice.
Every BA activity is driven by one or more these pillars, and to ensure our focus is on activities with member benefit, all activity must also be unique (something the industry can deliver collectively which others advocating for cycling cannot) and measurable. It must also either directly drive members’ businesses and profits, or have long-term strategic value.
The BA was instrumental in the formation of the Walking and Cycling Alliance, where we co-ordinate advocacy work with British Cycling, Cycling UK, Sustrans, Living Streets and The Ramblers. The BA also works with many more cycling, Governmental and other organisations.
Internationally, the BA is a long-standing member of the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) and is a founding member of Cycling Industries Europe (CIE). Through CONEBI we are also represented at the World Bicycle Industries Association (WBIA).
Our aim: to grow cycling
This will get more people on bikes. Everyday cycling trips – for ‘transport’- is the growth segment.
Our representation: the whole UK cycle industry
We speak with one voice. We are a non-profit group, with no commercial interests.
Our target: Westminster and Whitehall
We are not a consumer-facing organisation. We don’t have the large financial resources necessary to promote cycling to the general public.
Our focus: is on issues that only the BA can address.
We have partnerships with other groups – see below – and work closely with them. We don’t try to replicate the work that they do already.
Our issues: the BA can advocate only for issues on which our members all agree.
But we can inform, advise and facilitate discussion on a wide range of topics.
Our stance: the BA makes well-reasoned proposals as advocates
We do not lobby or seek or take funds from government or third parties or any commercial interests.
Our reputation: we aim to be objective, rigorous – that’s why reliable market data is key – and to be a critical and trusted adviser of government.
Working areas and policies
Click any heading to read more about the BA’s advocacy work and policy positions:
Video from the Minister of State for Transport
The BA’s reach goes right to the top of Government. We were delighted that the Minister of State for Transport, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, sent this video message to our BA Members’ Conference in 2020, shortly after announcing a £2 billion committment to active travel:
See also our Annual Reports.
RESULT: Government announces doubling of Bikeability funding, every child to be offered cycle training. BA had engaged one-on-one with the Minister ahead of this committment being made in the 2020 Conservative election manifesto.
BA liaises with DIT and DfT and informs members on Brexit developements, ADD, 25% USA tariffs. RESULT: BA members receive earliest possible info and analysis as Brexit transition end approaches
BA cycle security proposals to be taken forward by police cycle crime lead RESULT: Voluntary and vendor-neutral approach agreed
BA engages further with DfT and the devolved administrations on potential future e-bike and e-cargo bike incentive schemes, and establishes that these will be worth at least £11m in the next 12 months
Minister and senior officials speak at BA Conference. BA engages with DfT ahead of spending review, with proposals for e-bikes and e-cargo, supported by Market Data Service
BA launches industry sustainability initiative and publishes commissioned research.
BA lobbies to secure cycle shops essential status ahead of possible future lockdowns in England and Wales. RESULT: Assurances received and open status maintained.
Plus: Scotland announces £500m over 5 years for cycling & walking, BA mediates Cycle to Work discussions, work starts on cycle parking standard
BA has been working for over a year on cycle parking and security. RESULT: Funding secured via CRWG for UK cycle parking standard development
BA reacts to correct media mis-reporting of Simon Cowell’s injuries after an e-motorbike incident (not an e-bike) RESULT: highest traffic ever on BA website!
RESULT: Government announces “Gear Change” policy document with £2 billion over four years for infrastructure (with quality standards), e-bike incentive commitments and more
Fix Your Bike voucher scheme releases first batch, BA provides evidence to Commons e-scooter enquiry, BA submits response to DfT’s Future of Transport Regulatory Review
BA Market Data Service goes fully live. DfT straight away requests retailer servicing data to support Fix Your Bike scheme RESULT: BA influence immediately boosted by data availability
RESULT: Government announces £250m emergency active travel fund for pop-up infrastructure
RESULT: Government announces £25m Fix Your Bike repair voucher scheme
Package of proposals: BA developed and proposed to Govt a package of measures to support COVID use of bikes for transport inc. pop-up lanes, e-bike incentives, VAT, repair vouchers
Lockdown: BA immediately lobbied for essential status. RESULT: Government guidance ensures bikes shops can stay open, cycling for exercise encouraged even under strict lockdown. Enabled an extra £0.5 billion boom in cycling this year.
Supporting open shops: BA launched high traffic COVID Hub on website with industry info, plus offered free legal/HR support, developed Open Bike Shops finder with ACT and supported Bikes4KeyWorkers
Pop-up infrastructure: BA lobbied hard with WACA allies to secure Government support.
BA had been in contact with Northern Ireland officials for some years about the status of e- bikes in that territory. RESULT: E-bikes are to made legal in Northen Ireland
E-scooters: BA worked with numerous stakeholders to develop a ‘sensible’ UK specification proposal for e-scooters to ‘play well’ with bikes and e-bike
Bikeability: Direct BA lobbying at Ministerial level had secured an election manifesto commitment to expand the Bikeability scheme
RESULT: DfT announces Bikeability roll-out cycle training to all children worth £80-100m in this Parliament
New Minister: BA secured an early meeting to explain industry priorities after the post-election re-shuffle saw a new Transport Minister come into post