Thursday, 3 May 2012

A must read blog post (by someone else).

This article LINK expresses my feelings exactly about the current Mayoral election in London and the cycling lobbying.

As you may have have guessed, I am into cycling in quite a large way and I commute to work in London most days. I also agree whole-heartedly with the aims of Londoners on bikes and Go Dutch groups. My problems has been with the fact that the group comes over and is to a greater extent left of centre, this has not been in an overt way and they are in a very tricky situation in balancing between the needs of cycling and party politics, and I don't think this has been achieved. This means they are going to alienate themselves if Boris Johnson wins the election. The truth of the matter is that only a very small % of people are going to use their first vote only based on cycling (though I will be using my second vote for this purpose).

I think a better approach would have been to remove themselves from political sponsorship and rather than saying "vote XYZ because they have offered the most for cycling" would have been to say "XYZ has promised ..... we believe that this is positive" - nothing different in the message with respect to cycling but it distances the group from the political agenda. Despite the above criticism, they did do an excellent job in getting all the main candidates to endorse their aims - but now the relationship they have with the eventual winner of the election is important to get that endorsement converted into real actions.   

Cyclist need to remember we are only 2% of the voting public and although proper infrastructure may be important to us to the vast majority it just isn't. We need to be sending out a message about the benefit to others by cycling being safe. For example - more people on bikes means less congestion on the roads and public transport, proper infrastructure would mean more people cycling, imagine the changes to congestion is 10% of drivers went on their bikes? Imagine a safe route to school for your kids on a bike - no more having to take them in yourself every day or paying for public transport. 

There are lots of positive messages we can get into mainstream thinking - things most cyclist take for granted, for example, reduced healthcare bill from a healthier population. These are the messages we need to get into other peoples heads. Most people still think it is Road Tax not VED - most cyclist know this but most drivers don't, so how are they to know of all the other things we as cyclists take for granted.

In terms of lobbying we really need to start thinking about being in the shoes of the 98% and not get carried off in our own little world, this is basic negotiations tactics - sell you idea by focusing on the benefits of it to the other party.

So please read the LINK and let's get our message out to the 98% in a positive way.

No comments:

Post a Comment