The Centre for Challenge Prizes at Nesta is launching two prizes to harness UK ingenuity to increase the number of people cycling across the UK. The prizes are supported by Nesta and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Whether as a means of getting around locally for individuals and families, or for the daily commute, cycling presents a healthy, environmentally friendly, low cost form of transport.

It has been estimated by a study carried out by Transport for London and Mayor of London that road transport currently contributes around 70 per cent of air pollution in UK towns and cities damaging the local environment, climate and biodiversity. Cycling is a pollution free form of transport that creates no harmful emissions.

For each adult that switches from a car to a bicycle for a commuting journey of two and a half miles each way, for 80 days a year, there would be a reduction in the cost of traffic emissions by £69 each year. By encouraging greater uptake of cycling as an alternative to car use, significant benefits in terms of improved local air quality can be seen, particularly in carbon emissions.

In addition there would be significant health benefits. According to the British Medical Association, cycling just 20 miles a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50 per cent.

Now is a good time to act!  2012 represents an exciting year for cycling, with the Olympics and the Summer of Cycling along with a range of other campaigns. We aim to increase the use of cycling as mode of transport by finding the innovations that best tackle security issues and increase the numbers and frequency of employees cycling to and from work.

Hands Off My Bike!

The Hands Off My Bike Challenge Prize is calling on people from all over the UK to come up with breakthrough innovations to make it more difficult to steal bikes and have the potential to increase numbers of people cycling in the UK.

The winning innovation will be the one that requires the longest time to steal the bike. The innovation will be also judged on the impact on the environment, cost and potential for commercialisation and/or implementation at scale.

The winner will receive a prize of £50,000. 

Workplace Cycle Challenge Prize

The Workplace Cycle Challenge Prize is calling on all UK workplaces with more than 10 employees to come up with new ways of increasing the number of employees cycling to and from work.

We will award the winner a prize of £25,000.

For further information visit www.nesta.org.uk/challengeprizes