Campaigns and Policy

What are we campaigning for?

Many aren’t aware of the fact that disabled people cycle. Growing numbers do and use standard bicycles, as well as non-standard cycles (tricycles, handcycles and e-bikes etc.) to get around. However, there are a number of physical, financial and cultural barriers that continue to prevent more disabled people from taking up cycling in the UK. These include:

Infrastructure

There is a lack of fully inclusive infrastructure across cycling networks. Narrow cycle lanes; speed reduction treatments; physical obstacles; barriers and potholes can reduce accessibility for non-standard cycles, which are often wider, longer and heavier than standard bicycles.

Cost

Non-standard cycles are typically more expensive than standard road bikes, with access to hire and loan schemes also limited. Disabled people are more likely to be on lower incomes than those who are non-disabled, creating a further financial disadvantage when it comes to purchasing the right cycle.

Facilities

The majority of cycle parking and storage facilities fail to accommodate non-standard cycles. Without reliably available parking facilities (and fully integrated modes of transport) disabled cyclists will be discouraged from venturing out in the first place and from participating in active travel.

Cycles not recognised as mobility aids

Many disabled people find cycling easier than walking. However, under existing legislation cycles are not listed as a mobility aid (unlike wheelchairs and mobility scooters), meaning disabled cyclists may be asked to dismount in places where ‘cyclists dismount’ signs are displayed (despite the fact that walking a mobility aid, such as a handcycle, might be physically impossible for some).

Imagery and language

Images and photos of non-standard cycles and visibly disabled cyclists are under-represented in cycling, transport and design publications. Disabled cyclists are further excluded from cycling culture through use of the word ‘bicycle’, which fails to acknowledge the wider range of cycles available, the branding of electric-assistance as ‘cheating’, and the perception that cycling is for the fit and athletic.

Our policy asks:

BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE

  • We will lobby for all cycling infrastructure to be fully inclusive and to meet the specifications of Highways England’s ‘cycle design vehicle’ standard;
  • We will develop training and guidance for local authorities – encouraging them to adopt Highways England’s standard.
  • We will work with TfL and a number of local authorities to pilot and implement a ‘Blue Badge’ for disabled cyclists;

BETTER FACILITIES

  • We will work with government, cycle shops and employers to improve opportunities for the hire and purchase of non-standard cycles, such as through the Cycle to Work scheme;
  • We will campaign to grow the number of inclusive cycling ‘hubs’, where disabled people can find opportunities to try cycling, develop confidence and skills;

BETTER RECOGNITION

  • We will lobby government for legislative change so that cycles are recognised as a mobility aid when used by a disabled person for that purpose (on a par with mobility scooters and wheelchairs);
  • We will work with transport bodies to improve the visibility of non-standard cycles and disabled cyclists in cycle policy imagery;
  • We will continue to push for behavioural, cultural and political change so that attitudes towards cycling really do go ‘beyond the bicycle’.

If you would like to learn more about supporting Wheels for Well Being then fill in the form below or call or Neil on 020 7346 8482 or drop us an email neil@wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk.