Cycling Embassy of Great Britain a step closer

Inaugural meeting seeks to tap into cyclists' desire for change

by Mark Appleton   February 2, 2011  

road.cc news

The civil unrest currently affecting Egypt began among the country’s middle classes via a Facebook Campaign.

It serves to illustrate how a grass-roots movement tapping into a pent-up groundswell of opinion can grow exponentially from a handful of individuals to a millions-strong (potentially) regime-changing revolution.

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain too is starting from humble beginnings, namely a meeting last week at the Look Mum no Hands! café in London. Aound 40 people attended the inaugural get-together of a movement which, according to its mission statement, lacks nothing in terms of ambition.

Among its stated aims are:
• To develop relations with private companies already committed to Green & Sustainable values and promote the truth that cycling can produce a fitter, healthier, happier workforce saving billions in ‘sick’ days to the British economy.
• To lobby relevant Government Departments that cycling is a solution to transport congestion, noise pollution, carbon emissions, deaths and serious injuries on our roads, obesity and illnesses from more sedentary lifestyles, stress and expense.
• To politely correct the Department for Transport that ‘Sustainable Transport’ actually means walking, cycling and public transport as opposed to spending further millions on expanding the road network which will only sustain more pollution, deaths & serious injuries and congestion.
• To redefine what Road Safety in the UK means by working with relevant groups; to highlight what the real dangers are, to enforce a duty of care to the most vulnerable and promoting prevention, rather than cure. This will be through a raft of measures including reduced speed limits in urban areas and changes in streetscape design to put community needs before those just travelling through them.

These are major goals which  overlap with the campaigning activities of a number of well-established organisations, but the Embassy's founder, Jim Davis, is clearly thinking big.

According to fellow blogger Mark Ames who attended the meeting, he told the assembled audience  that “..existing cycle campaigns are diabolical at communicating with the general public. What’s more, mass cycling is not going to materialise by tinkering around the edges. A fresh approach is needed.”

Mr Davis is modelling the soon-to-be-establshed, not-for-profit company on the Cycling Embassy of Denmark which describes itself as “a comprehensive network of private companies, local authorities and non-governmental organizations working together to promote cycling and communicate cycling solutions and know-how. “

You can read more about the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain here.
 

4 user comments

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You missed out the most important point about the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain that is that its USP is that it is not another vehicular cycling campaign.

posted by Kim [127 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 14:49

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This campaign is exactly what cycling needs here in the UK. Not just another campaign focussing on squeezing cycling in around the edges of the existing transport infrastructure. Only a small number of people will ever cycle as long as conditions are so bad. Mass cycling like the Netherlands requires infrastructure like the Netherlands.

It is so refreshing to see a campaign which is genuinely seeking to make things better not just for those of us who already cycle, but for the tens of millions more who would if they were provided with the right conditions.

posted by mr_colostomy [29 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 16:17

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All I see at the moment are a bunch of bloggers. Let me know when the first high quality cycle path is laid thanks to their work - I'd love to come and ride on it.

But, hey, good luck to them.

posted by pickles [27 posts]
2nd February 2011 - 17:18

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@pickles - I am not a blogger (at least, I don't blog about cycling). I'm not even a cyclist. I'm just somebody who would like to get about on my bike without needing nerves of steel and the ability to impersonate a small car while riding a very slow bike.

Which is why I was at Look Mum No Hands last Saturday supporting the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain.

Maybe I won't see high quality cycling infrastructure in my lifetime and I'll be stuck cycling to Waitrose and back because it's the only route that doesn't stress me to bits. But I have to try!

posted by emilyobyrne [4 posts]
3rd February 2011 - 22:17

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