Bike helmet campaign picks GPC for lobby drive

The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust (BHIT) is rallying backbenchers to ensure enough supporters attend the second reading of the Protective Headgear for Young Cyclists Private Members Bill on 23 April.

BHIT has appointed GPC International to provide lobbying support and to seek endorsements from health bodies, celebrities and victim’s families as well as co-ordinating a consumer media campaign to raise awareness.

More than 80 cross-party MPs have already indicated their support for the Bill that will be introduced in early March by Labour’s MP for Carlisle Eric Martlew. If passed it would make it compulsory for cyclists under the age of 16 to wear a helmet in public places.

GPC senior policy adviser Andrew Lappin said the BHIT needs more than 80 supporters to attend the second reading for the Bill to pass on to the Committee stage and will approach all 659 members of the House of Commons. It will also lobby the Ministers of Health and Transport.

‘This is only the first hurdle,’ said Lappin, ‘but it is an important hurdle because it will indicate the Government is mindful of the issue and will give it time.’

Lappin said the support of health organisations would be key to lobbying and GPC is targeting health and transport trade media. The Bill has already been endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

GPC will also use endorsements from families of victims and celebrities, including Formula 1 driver David Coultard who is the patron of the BHIT.

Lobbying will be backed by a consumer media campaign targeting children’s media and national and regional media. Lappin said: ‘The campaign is as much about raising awareness of the issue as it is about getting the Bill passed.’

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