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Joins chorus of dissatisfaction with retailer in wake of Sharing the Road survey

British Cycling has released a statement in response to Halfords’ much-maligned Sharing the Road survey. It’s expressed its position that “laws should be developed using evidence.”

While Halfords pronounced itself “pleasantly surprised” with what its survey revealed, some of the findings have given rise to strongly anti-cycling headlines.

The Sun headlined its story "LICENCE TO BIKE Cyclists ‘should have number plates and take a test’ before being allowed on the road," and BikeBiz reports that a number of consumers are threatening to boycott Halfords for providing the ammunition.

In its statement, British Cycling said:

“Some of the suggestions set out in Halfords’ Sharing the Road report, such as a compulsory proficiency test and number plates, are quite obviously non-starters.

“The reality is that we, and other cycling organisations, work with groups representing pedestrians and motorists to find ways to make our streets safer for everyone. Indeed Halfords themselves are part of our #ChooseCycling Network of British businesses that strongly believe more cycling is crucial to help business thrive, to encourage people to live healthier lives and to make Britain a more pleasant place to live.

“We have been clear that laws should be developed using evidence, focusing proportionately on those with the ability to cause most harm. It is thankfully incredibly rare for a cyclist to be involved in the fatality of another road user, with two people dying a year on average. When compared to more than 400 pedestrian fatalities involving motor vehicles, it’s very clear where government time and resource should be focused.”

The wording was echoed by policy advisor Chris Boardman, whose range of bikes is stocked by Halfords. He said that, "compulsory proficiency tests and number plates, are quite obviously non-starters and cannot be regarded as a serious contribution to the public debate on road safety."

AA president Edmund King said: “The AA believes that the introduction of number plates for cyclists would be impractical and unnecessary – police already have the powers to stop cyclists.”

Cycling UK’s Duncan Dollimore said: "We already knew some people instinctively think regulation and testing of cyclists is the answer.

“Those people frequently fail to appreciate the practicalities of imposing and enforcing regulations on children, the costs involved, or the public health and other implications of putting up further barriers to cycling.

“Fortunately, government has consistently reached the conclusion that such proposals are disproportionate and unnecessary.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

15 comments

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davel [1964 posts] 1 month ago
7 likes

Outbreak of sense at BC. Better not be contagious.

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Milkfloat [54 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
davel wrote:

Outbreak of sense at BC. Better not be contagious.

I see that as the absolute minimum they should have done.  BC are treading a thin line between their members and sponsors.  I would have have much prefered BC to stop sitting on the fence and actually call out Halfords for their terribly biased survey and blatent attempt at marketing. 

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brooksby [2693 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Dear road.cc - thank you for not actually providing the link to the sun story yes yes <thumbs-up>

(if someone has to go to that part of the internet, let them look for it themselves)

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bendertherobot [1477 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

Dear road.cc - thank you for not actually providing the link to the sun story yes yes <thumbs-up>

(if someone has to go to that part of the internet, let them look for it themselves)

I have. It's basically a re-print, more or less, of the Press Association piece. Those that have run with this have done pretty much the same. It's in the Mail, for example, but that one is verbatim the PA piece. Indeed, the only newspaper that has carried the story and done any more detail is the Indy. Naturally, their spin is different. 

Essentially the cycling press braced itself for the MSM to carry this widely and it never really got any traction. If anyone has read the survey they'd note that there are 75 questions about Halfords core business (and sharing the road) of which this was 1. A crappy 1, yes. But, quite why the cycling press drew this stat out from ther rest in there is a little odd.

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Jharrison5 [141 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

I'll prepare to brand my horse's right buttock with registration details too?

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beezus fufoon [950 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

next thing, they'll be debating the abolition of road tax

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Simon E [3154 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

Yesterday's Bikebiz article leads with talk of a consumer boycott:

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/boycott-halfords-say-consumers-over-num...

Last night I forced my way through the picket line* outside Halfords in Shrewsbury to part with £1.19 of my own money for a pair of fuses for my car. It's the nearest car store to me so I'll probably still buy bulbs etc but I don't think I'll go there for any significant purchases in future.

* this part may not be 100% truthful... but my conscience is clear as it's no worse than a Daily Mail/Sun article.  3

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davel [1964 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Scab!

To be fair, I hardly ever use them anyway, so I might as well make it an official boycott and feel the warm glow of righteousness while I'm at it.

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alansmurphy [1168 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

But they have the tacx smart trainer at under 200 notes with BC discount, in my defence I did reserve prior to this stupid research...

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bendertherobot [1477 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:

Yesterday's Bikebiz article leads with talk of a consumer boycott:

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/boycott-halfords-say-consumers-over-num...

Last night I forced my way through the picket line* outside Halfords in Shrewsbury to part with £1.19 of my own money for a pair of fuses for my car. It's the nearest car store to me so I'll probably still buy bulbs etc but I'll probanly use them for any significant purchases in future.

* this part may not be 100% truthful... but my conscience is clear as it's no worse than a Daily Mail/Sun article.  3

I got some Thule Wing bars, feet and fitting kit. And two child seats (each with 20% off). All price matched (where appropriate) then whipped out my BC card. That Saved around £30 on this visit alone.

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burtthebike [1218 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
beezus fufoon wrote:

next thing, they'll be debating the abolition of road tax

About 80 years to late for that debate.

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beezus fufoon [950 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes
burtthebike wrote:
beezus fufoon wrote:

next thing, they'll be debating the abolition of road tax

About 80 years to late for that debate.

I can see that you're a bit too "on the ball" for a Halford's customer

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SculturaD [35 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

The wording was echoed by policy advisor Chris Boardman, whose range of bikes is stocked by Halfords.

Thought Halfords bought out Boardman bikes or at least the ones at the lower end of the scale. They paid something like £20 million for them. Inaccuracy road CC as the bikes only carry the name now and are not owned by CB anymore. So are not in reality "who's range of bikes.

http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/halfords-acquires-boardma...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/108755...

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massive4x4 [13 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

There is a general principle of life that many posters on this forum would be well advised to consider.

"Assume Positive Intent"

Halfords is not a campaigning organisation; I suspect the route of this came from their community relations or CSR department. They probably want to paint a positive message of car drivers and cyclists getting on in perfect harmony.

I'm pretty sure that Halfords looking at a future of electric cars, self-driving cars and car share schemes is very much behind the UK becoming more like the Netherlands especially as people will continue to maintain their bikes at home. Halfords should be an ally.

So rather than suggest that Halfords are idiots or boycotting Halfords, instead send an e-mail to the Halfords exec named in the reports. Make it polite; thank them for their contribution and point out it would be better if they engaged with some cycling advocacy groups before embarking on any future research.

Secondly as a general point the cycling lobby needs to stop focusing on penalties for drivers. It is adversarial and it doesn’t work, look at the US prison population to see the negatives of harsh penalties and how ineffective they are as a deterrent.

Instead focus on making cycling a mainstream activity supported by good infrastructure, make every child a cyclist before they are a driver and you will have the basic empathy that makes aggressive driving around cyclists socially unacceptable and presumed liability an easy sell.

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beezus fufoon [950 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
massive4x4 wrote:

There is a general principle of life that many posters on this forum would be well advised to consider.

"Assume Positive Intent"

...blah blah...

Is it a bit like "assume the position" and other favourite pontifications given to subordinates?