Hounslow Council has picked up the 2019 London Road Safety Award for their pioneering cycle training scheme that has raised the profile of adult cycle training in the borough while increasing participation.
The scheme has seen a significant increase in the number of participants on their adult cycle training sessions over the last three years.
In 2016 the council changed the way people accessed the training, which helped not only to increase participation but more importantly, its reach to communities that are underrepresented in cycling. Adult participation numbers went from just under 100 adults in 2016/17 to 1,686 in 2018/19.
Funding received from Transport for London (TfL), enabled the council to significantly invest in cycling, making it accessible to all. Through removing barriers to joining and providing bikes and helmets at no cost to participants, initial access was made easier for participants, many of whom have formed good friendships through the sessions as their love for cycling has grown.
Over 80% of participants are women and from ethnic minority backgrounds with ages ranging from 16 to 82. Following interest in participation from people with disabilities, Hounslow Council is investing in a range of adapted bikes and setting up weekly drop in sessions in September, making the cycle scheme accessible to all.
The council also has a women-only cycling group, the Hounslow Biking Belles. The group ride out to various locations in the borough each week, wearing pink Hounslow Biking Belles tabards. The ladies’ love of cycling often extends to the pink tabards featuring in holiday snaps of themselves cycling abroad and sharing on their WhatsApp group of over 100 members, along with participants’ other personal cycling news and achievements.
Following the council’s office move to the town centre in April this year, the cycling programme, previously at the Civic Centre on Lampton Road, needed a new base, so a new Cycling Hub has been set up in Lampton Park. Three shipping containers, brightly painted with cycling murals were installed, providing a meeting point for training sessions, rides and bike maintenance clinics, as well as providing a colourful landmark to raise the profile of cycling in the community and storage for the council’s bikes and equipment.
The London Road Safety Award is designed to highlight and reward innovation and good practice in road safety education in London. Introduced in 2003 as the Laurie Bunn Award, in memory of a past LRSC chairman, the award was renamed in 2016.
The 2019 award was presented to Hounslow Council at the London Road Safety Council’s AGM at the TfL offices at Palestra in Southwark on 12 July.
Councillor Hanif Khan, Cabinet Member for Transport at Hounslow Council said:
“We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from the London Road Safety Council. Our cycling programme in Hounslow has gone from strength to strength over the past few years due to the funding from TfL and the hard work and dedication of our Transport Team.
“As a council we are encouraging all our residents to opt for more sustainable modes of transport to help reduce congestion on the borough’s roads and improve our air quality, while improving their physical fitness and having fun. Cycling is a great way for our residents to get around day to day and the success we have achieved with our programme demonstrates that with the right support, many of our underrepresented groups will give it a go.
“It’s particularly gratifying to see many of the ‘graduates’ of our group lessons move on to becoming seasoned cyclists enjoying new friendships and experiences from participating in the Hounslow Biking Belles group events. We look forward to many future successes and to see more and more Hounslow residents getting on their bikes!”
Article from London Borough of Hounslow.