I have already confessed my love for cycle sport in general and the Tour de France in particular – while arguing that that the Tour in Britain may have had a negative effect on the prospects for everyday cycling. It’s not just that the benefits of cycling as sport for cycling as transport are limited – the Tour de France is, after all, not supposed to be more than, well, the Tour de France. It’s that the impressions of what “cycling” is, as derived from the Tour and cycle sport in general, can actually impede the progress of cycling as transport.
I’ve enjoyed the Tour in the UK, and will stay glued to it. But it is time to review the situation with some observations of where we are and what the effect of the Tour may be.
Vive Le Tour de France en Yorkshire!
First, a confession: I am a cycle sport nut. I used to be a keen racer (albeit to no significant effect in terms of results), have a much repeated link with England’s greatest ever road racing cyclist , and frequently take part in sportives and Audax events. I jointly runt he annual Hammersmith Cyclists Film Show for cycle sport fans. I watch all the main races and fret over the minutiae of transfers, alleged drug taking, fancy new equipment etc. on the sport web sites. I shall immerse myself in the magic as the Tour de France passes my east London vantage point.
I will happily use the occasion as a break from the world of car dependency and the social acceptance of road danger that we find unacceptable. And yes, I do know that the Tour de France is not supposed to usher in a world of mass cycling. The Tour de France is the Tour de France: nothing more, nothing less.
However, there is a view that The Tour de France and cycle sport generally are associated with a supposed big increase in everyday cycling: let’s just talk it all up and we’re on our way. I think there are issues about the difference between cycle sport and everyday cycling, about negative features of cycle sport and the image of “cycling” which we need to look at. So, when you take a break from the excitement, you may wish to consider the following: Continue reading
Although the image below is a bit difficult to make out (the original is here), we reproduce it and take some time to examine its message as delivered by the “South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership” (SYSRP) . It is typical of why official “road safety” – as opposed to the real road safety of road danger reduction – is part of the problem of danger on the roads and discrimination against cycling and sustainable transport.
From Halfords cycle2work leaflet
Halfords, as well as being a large car parts and servicing business, is a major cycle retail business and operates a “Cycle to Work” government approved initiative to enable employees to use a bike and accessories to cycle to work. We think the extract from their “cycle2work” leaflet sends out the wrong message about cycling. Here’s why: Continue reading
Health warnings on car ads?
UPDATE 25th June 2014:
The ASA has now changed it’s mind on this matter . Hopefully partly as a result of the information contained in the protests to it from organisations and individuals like ours.
First, the good news. The idiotic ruling of the ASA described here has been withdrawn following a veritable storm of protest. It is good to see that a diverse (and normally often disunited) community of cyclists and others concerned about a civilised approach to cycling and safety on the road can swiftly summon up good quality arguments and have an effect.
But this is just the start. This matter is far from being resolved, and it may well be that the outcome is a quite unsatisfactory judgement about the portrayal of cycling. We need to examine the issues regarding ASA judgements on matters of safety on the road in more detail. Continue reading
You were are not supposed to see this picture
UPDATE 25th June 2014:
The ASA has now changed it’s mind on this matter . Hopefully partly as a result of the information contained in the protests to it from organisations and individuals like ours. (See also our next post)
A piece of idiocy by the ASA has caused justified anger among cycling groups and others concerned with a civilised approach to danger on the road.
You can read about it here; here; here and also here the CTC’s comments are here:
The RDRF objects to the ASA’s decision on the basis that: Continue reading
Along with others such as the CTC we made a submission in January 2013. Here it is: Continue reading
Our post on the effects of the NZ cycle helmet law has had more views than any other so far on www.rdrf.org.uk . Prompted by this, below we:
(i) Give fuller references to the evidence.
(ii) Suggest the reason for the observed changes (particularly the apparent adverse effects on cyclist casualty rates).
(iii) Look at helmet advocacy in the context of a car dominated “road safety” culture.
Below is a graph by Chris Gilham looking at cycling (those of all ages over 5) in New Zealand. Look at levels of cycling and the cyclist injury rate following the introduction of the mandatory cycle helmet law. More to come on the analysis of this graph in the next post.
For more detailed evidence on the effect of the NZ law, and what it means, see our post here
Harry Venning of the Guardian’s take on the “blitz” in “Clare in the Community”
After a spate of cyclist deaths in London, cyclist safety is on the national agenda. For some, getting cyclist safety in the public eye is inherently good – we’re not so sure. The key issue is, after all, to do the right things for the safety of cyclists. Last week we were told that there is a “new zero-tolerance approach” with a “huge escalation” in policing involving “stopping lorries and cars and where there is unsafe driving they will be taken off the road.”
But is a blitz on unsafe driving – under what is called “Operation Safeway” in London – actually happening? We don’t think so. So what exactly is going on? Continue reading