Normalising cycling as a transport option for everyone, particularly for short trips, requires repositioning the bicycle as aspirational high value activity.
At the moment cycling for transport is seen as a dangerous activity undertaken by ‘thrill-seeking young men’ and ‘other people’ who either can’t afford a car, are getting fit or losing weight, or are ‘save the planet’ types.
Local and central government should be leaders in this area and radically change their current approach, which focuses on danger and is counter productive. Instead:
- Strong cycling promotion campaigns by Council and central government are essential. Not the fluoro ‘dodging the traffic’ kind, but the kind that takes a leaf out of the car manufacturers marketing book where only open roads and attractive people leading attractive lives are seen. Similarly, cycling promotion should show attractive people riding beautiful bikes in ‘shared spaces’ and safe cycleways, stopping to chat with friends, passing gorgeous shops and cafes…
- Profile high profile people and celebrities who cycle.
- Promote new cycling infrastructure during construction, and once opened, with all its benefits. Show normal people using and enjoying the infrastructure.
- Leverage rising worldwide youth disinterest in car ownership and its ‘uncoolness’
- Run ‘Ridiculous Journeys’ campaigns to focus on promoting short journeying by bicycle
- Run information campaigns to inform people how much it negatively affects our health and wealth and the quality of our urban environment – ‘Not our future!’