Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Cycling Resolutions: 2014 Edition

I've just listened to a BBC Radio Scotland phone-in about cycling, and it's occurred to me how far we are from a cycling revolution, especially outside London.

So, here are some of my campaign resolutions for the year ahead.

Preach to the Unconverted

I read many cycling blogs and Twitter feeds, and it's easy to think that people are aware of the kind of things discussed, such as 20mph limits, segregated infrastructure, filtered permeability. 

Most people don't know what these mean (or actively oppose them in the case of lower speed limits). We need to tell normal people why these things matter: to their kids, playing in the street; to their granny, able to cross the road; to their town centre, a pleasant environment to shop and drink coffee in.

We also have to clearly identify the problems - not necessarily those for existing cyclists, a tiny group - that a cycling culture (or a people-first culture) will help solve. These include (but are not limited to!) health, congestion, cost of living, freedom for children, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Think About the Big Picture

Stop getting distracted by talking about the little and stupid things. In an hour-long radio programme, the following points, which are of no relevance to increasing cycling modal share, were mentioned:
  • the arrogance of cyclists
  • red light jumping and other 'rule-breaking' (only by cyclists, no other road users)
  • cyclists wearing headphones
  • pavement cycling
We need to talk about the towns and cities we want to live in. Where people come before traffic. Like this. Those pictures can appeal to all kinds of people, current cyclist or (more likely) not. Who would choose to live in a traffic-filled city?

Thinking about the Big Picture means thinking big. It means neither asking for, nor accepting, crumbs. Crumbs tend to coincide with cycling being part of the margins, something fitted in around the real priority, traffic flow. Dual-networks are an anti solution, and we shouldn't be afraid to say so.

Happy New Year