Olympic hero backs RoSPA’s big push for more cyclists and fewer accidents

17/03/2015

Double gold Olympic medallist James Cracknell is to launch RoSPA's Family Safety Week in an effort to get more people pedalling – safely.

The champion rower will get the awareness-raising week underway with TV property expert, and Family Safety WeekAmbassador, Martin Roberts, and Nazan Fennell, a Birmingham-based campaigner whose 13-year-old daughter, Hope, was knocked off her bike and killed in 2011.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) will stage the event on Monday March 2, at Queensbridge School, in Birmingham.

The results of a RoSPA-commissioned YouGov survey, aimed at uncovering the nation's habits and attitudes to cycling, will be revealed at the launch.

The launch will also give pupils a chance to take part in several activities including blind spot demonstrations in an articulated lorry, bicycle maintenance checks, and mini-consultations over the layout of their routes to school.

James Cracknell started campaigning for safer cycling after he suffered life-changing injuries while filming a documentary in the US in 2010.

He said: "As a professional athlete I can't tell you how important exercise is to a person's health and wellbeing. Yet I know from bitter experience what's at stake for those who regularly take to the road on their bike.

"That's why I decided to back RoSPA's Family Safety Week – the best way to significantly reduce the risks is through better education, better engineering and better enforcement. We all have a moral obligation to share the road responsibly.”

The Family Safety Week website - www.familysafetyweek.org.uk - is full of free practical advice that is aimed at parents, children, anyone who would like to cycle but is put off by the risks, and drivers.

Each day of the Week will focus on a different theme. These include: children's bicycles, cycling to school, cycling to work, leisure cycling, and "sharing the road”.

Nazan Fennell said: "It took the death of my daughter for me to realise that we need to radically re-think our urban areas with cyclists and pedestrians in mind.

"My dearest wish is for Family Safety Week to extend the national conversation – so that whenever we talk about the importance of cycling, we talk about the importance of cycling safely.”

Martin Roberts, the presenter of BBC1's Homes Under the Hammer, said: "What's not to love about cycling? It's cheap, it's clean and it helps us to stay happy and healthy. Yet all of these benefits mean little if we don't get the safety bit right first.

"I know many people who would love to cycle - or cycle more often - but don't because of the fear of traffic. Our Week aims to provide more support to those already cycling, and make the case for safer road infrastructure on behalf of those who don't cycle, but would love to.”

To spread the message to millions of families, Argos has agreed to support the Week through a number of in-store and online promotions.

The Week is being backed by a number of other partners including, Birmingham City Council, DBS Law, Push Bikes Birmingham, and Luke Cameron, author of the Good Deed Diary blog.

RoSPA's former president, Lord Jordan of Bournville, is also scheduled to raise a cycling-related question in the House of Lords during the Week.

For more information visit www.familysafetyweek.org.uk.

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