Cycling Sucks

Well, I’ve been picking through the Local Transport White Paper and will write my comment for what it’s worth when the combination of lunatic hilarity and anger simmers down.

In the meantime, here is something to lighten the mood. I know it has appeared on other sites (such as the wonderful Copenhagenize) but it’s so lovely I really must bring it to the attention of Lo Fidelity Readers. It was made by Dutch students and is simply wonderful.

Enjoy.

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5 thoughts on “Cycling Sucks”

  1. I look forward to your take on the White Paper.

    I’ve read through it and my view is that it creates the opportunity for some very positive changes in support of cycling. However, in the style of the big society, it is non-prescriptive so relies on local transport authorities to have the vision and motivation to propose and bid for sustainable transport projects.

    I think our expectations of local government are unrealistically high. These are people looking after our counties and cities in their spare time, faced with a raft of initiatives and issues. Just like on ‘Yes Minister’, full time officials can set the agenda, and if allowed to, will distract and occupy elected members with the sort of trivia that gives them an easy life.

    It requires councillors to prioritise cycling as a serious mode of transport for short journeys (which the white paper acknowledges is potentially around 40-50%).

    When will councillors start directing officers to do more for cycling? When we, the public, have influenced them sufficiently by writing, emailing, phoning and turning up at meetings to ask questions in the public sessions.

    For all the hand wringing and ranting on blogs and fora, how many cyclists have actually written to their local councillor or their council’s cabinet member for transport, making the positive case for changes to promote and enable cycling?

    Most fellow cyclists locally don’t have a grasp of DfT thinking or a focused idea of what would make a difference. The challenge isn’t to lobby for improvements from the standpoint of a 30 something male commuter on a road bike but to campaign for changes that would encourage women of all ages and middle aged men to choose their bikes ahead of the car for short journeys.

    1. I agree with your comments. I don’t believe at all that councils should set the running for something as serious as Sustainable Transport, particularly as their backs are completely against the wall in light of drastic cuts (and I suspect that many County Cycling Officers may go as a result as they aren’t regarded as essential services).

      If you read the rest of this blog, you’ll see that I have not only been actively involved at local level, setting up campaign groups and forums for all that are interested in cycling to get involved but I’m on the brink of kicking off a new national campaign with a start up meeting on the 29th January to do exactly what you say, a group that campaigns ‘for changes that would encourage women of all ages and middle aged men to choose their bikes ahead of the car for short journeys’

      My response to the White paper comes later because riding a bike is a passion and I like writing about it almost as much as I like doing it! I also like reading the other viewpoints of all different typres of cyclist. If you want to make a difference, please go to http://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk read the Agenda and Mission Statement and hopefully see you in London on the 29th 🙂

      1. I’ve read the Cycling Embassy website and support its aims, but am not sure I can get to the meeting.

        My comments were intended to encourage the silent majority to stick their heads above the parapet so that councils are aware of local demand for better cycling provision.

        I think that there is more chance of appropriate provision for cyclists (outside London) if it is provided in response to need/demand expressed by local communities. It fits the big society model adopted by the coalition government.

        I’m sure that most authorities will be preparing their bids now that the guidelines are available because it keeps their officers busy and they are programmed to bid for central funding. I’d prefer those bids to be informed by public demand rather than be ‘one size fits all’ measures spread too thinly across a vast area.

        I recently contacted my local council on a highways issue and have been surprised by how receptive and responsive they have been in addressing the problem. It’s possible that some councils may not be responsive, and my intention isn’t to undermine a campaign/lobby group, however, people contacting councils, as individuals can have an influence. Especially if a number of people all raise the same issues.

      2. Absolutely. What’s essentially needed is a pincer movement if you will; local campaign groups/individuals lobbying councils – and making sure at national level that the correct design standards are created (as opposed to blatantly ignored guidelines) and that further funding is made available to assist those local campaign groups/individuals.

        If you can’t make it to the meeting, don’t worry as there’ll be plenty more ways to express your support in the future. 🙂

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