The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust has been rebranded as Cycle-Smart. If the new name sounds familiar that’s because there are a number of Cycle Smart organisations already in existence as well as a Disney-sponsored campaign owned by the Department for Transport. The new name will be unveiled by comedian Hugh Dennis tomorrow night at BHIT’s annual gala dinner in its home town of Reading.
Disney and the Department for Transport jointly promoted a Cycle Smart campaign some years ago. There’s a Cycle-smart dotcom in America (the UK one is a dotorg) and in Australia there’s a cycle insurance product called Cycle Smart. Surrey has a DriveSmart and CycleSmart campaign and Stoke has a cycle-specific Cycle Smart campaign.
BHIT was created in 1998 by Angela Lee, a nurse consultant in paediatric trauma and orthopaedics. She is the organisation’s chief executive.
The switch to a new name "reflects the charity’s commitment to all aspects of safer cycling for children," said a statement from BHIT (which was embargoed, but the news is now on Twitter). The rebrand took place in the summer with BHIT becoming Cycle-Smart Ltd in August 2014.
Lee said: “The charity will still be working to protect young cyclists but we believe the new name reflects the fact we encourage not only the use of cycle helmets but other safer cycling measures such as high visibility clothing, bike lights, cycle training and bicycle maintenance.”
The charity has distributed more than 50,000 free and cheap cycle helmets. BHIT says "cyclists of all ages are 16 times more likely to be killed per hour cycled than car drivers." (Usually by car drivers.)
Lee said: “More and more children are being encouraged to cycle and whilst we recognise the huge health and environmental benefits of cycling there are also risks involved and Cycle-Smart is committed to highlighting and minimising those dangers.”
Cycle-Smart claims to have a three year action plan:
"To ensure personal road safety, including cycling safety, is incorporated into the national school curriculum by 2017.
"To produce and to launch a new safer cycling DVD and guide for parents and carers in 2015.
"To ensure all children get access to affordable safety gear and to ensure the rights and needs of child cyclists is kept in the political forefront."
The charity had income of £193,000 in 2011 and had £100,000 less in 2013. In 2012 the charity spent £21,000 more than it brought in.
BHIT has long been a vigorous supporter of helmet compulsion laws.