The Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust (BHIT) is to be renamed Cycle-Smart. The change is intended to reflect broader aims for the charity, which was created in 1998 by chief executive Angela Lee, a nurse consultant in paediatric trauma and orthopaedics.
In 2009, BHIT won a European award for its Headsmart campaign and has distributed more than 50,000 free and cheap cycle helmets. However, the organisation has also courted controversy due to its position that helmets should be mandatory.
The rebranding is set to be announced tonight by comedian Hugh Dennis at BHIT's annual gala dinner in Reading. In a statement, Lee explained:
“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 Cycle-Smart name is not unique, however. Various organisations have made use of it and both Surrey and Stoke currently run Cycle Smart campaigns.
Under its new name, Cycle-Smart has outlined its three-year action plan. This will involve ensuring that personal road safety – including cycling safety – is incorporated into the national school curriculum by 2017; producing and launching a new safer cycling DVD and guide for parents and carers next year; ensuring all children get access to affordable safety gear; and ensuring the rights and needs of child cyclists are kept in the political forefront.
According to Lee:
“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.”