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Initiative that called on compulsory training for cyclists seems to have been pulled following social media backlash

Ingenie, the insurance company specialising in cover for young drivers that was widely criticised this week for its #ShareTheRoadUK initiative that called, among other things, for cyclists to have to undertake training and testing before being allowed to ride their bike on the road, appears to have removed the campaign from its website.

The link to the campaign on the company's website, included in our story yesterday, now goes to an error page that says "We couldn't find the page you were looking for." The website does still show a page of safety tips for cyclists.

We have asked Ingenie's PR advisors for clarification of why the campaign seems to been pulled from the website, but if that has been done in response to the backlash to the initiative, it again underlines the power of social media, coming in a week when motoring magazine Auto Express removed a story from its own site claiming that three in four cyclists broke "road rules."

Cycling website BikeRadar, which originally endorsed the Ingenie campaign only to remove its story and withdraw its support, albeit the following day; by that time, news of its initial backing of the initiative had spread and the original piece had received a number of negative comments.

In a susbsequent article, it claimed it had done so because it had not been aware of Ingenie's call for compulsory testing, a move BikeRadar says it does not support.

Meawhile, the Wikipedia page of Future plc, which owns BikeRadar, has been changed to include a reference to the episode, although in a much condensed version of an account of the controversy that originally appeared yesterday, once more reinforcing that in this age of the connected consumer, PR is no longer a one-way process and reputations that take time to build up can quickly be damaged.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

9 comments

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JohnS [198 posts] 3 years ago
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Gosh, two results in a week!

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Animal [41 posts] 3 years ago
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We're a large enough minority to count. And most of us are in a good target demographic for the insurance companies.

I purchase a *lot* of insurance. Car, home, bike, travel.

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Jasonnz1 [23 posts] 3 years ago
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Power of the people  16

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A V Lowe [570 posts] 3 years ago
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Maybe (at long last) the PR folk will read the results of a now aged TRL study on cyclists' profiles. Even than cyclists were twice as likely to be PC literate and internet connected than the national average, and more likely to hold a driving licence.

Wake up world, we buy things and we vote..

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Driver Protest Union [22 posts] 3 years ago
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But 38 million drivers buy much more insurance. It's just that they are more supine and not so clever as the minority cyclists. Let's face it, if cyclists stopped, it wouldn't bring the economy to its knees. So the drivers need to mobilise not only as a voting block but as an economic power. They need to learn from cyclists.

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Driver Protest Union [22 posts] 3 years ago
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No. Most people don't cycle and most of those who do don't do it for most of their lives either. This power is about green anti driver ideology on the one hand and politicians who are trying to pretend that cycling is a viable economic alternative and exploiting cyclists to do so. And while they do that, road casualties will inevitably rise. Do they care? Do they feel guilty? Nah!

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iDavid [47 posts] 3 years ago
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I spoke to Ingenie today and whilst conceding that their campaign may not have been properly thought through, they did say that they'd had lots of positive feedback to balance the comments of a noisy minority.

I suggested that they followed the principles of the original Share the Road program over at http://sharetheroad.org.uk which is of course about all road users being the same people doing different things.

Ingenie are at least trying to de-tribalise the cyclist v motorist mindset by getting rookie drivers to behave well in return for lower premiums and for that they should be encouraged.

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downfader [203 posts] 3 years ago
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Driver Protest Union wrote:

But 38 million drivers buy much more insurance. It's just that they are more supine and not so clever as the minority cyclists. Let's face it, if cyclists stopped, it wouldn't bring the economy to its knees. So the drivers need to mobilise not only as a voting block but as an economic power. They need to learn from cyclists.

Keith - that is bunkum.

Firstly where do you get the 38 million drivers from. The DVLA has made reference to 32 million in the past year.

If cyclists stopped do you think the road could cope with an extra 5-15 million extra cars a day? I know it cant cope in places now.

You're right, they do need to learn from cyclists.

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downfader [203 posts] 3 years ago
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iDavid wrote:

I spoke to Ingenie today and whilst conceding that their campaign may not have been properly thought through, they did say that they'd had lots of positive feedback to balance the comments of a noisy minority.

I suggested that they followed the principles of the original Share the Road program over at http://sharetheroad.org.uk which is of course about all road users being the same people doing different things.

Ingenie are at least trying to de-tribalise the cyclist v motorist mindset by getting rookie drivers to behave well in return for lower premiums and for that they should be encouraged.

I think half the problems flared when Lineker started calling cyclists "extremists" on twitter when they raised issues with a couple of the points Ingenie suggested. For one the massive change in law that would be required to make training compulsory and then how exactly would you know the cyclist is trained... it would be a massive upheaval that this country can do without. Lineker later deleted his replies.

What people like Ingenie have to realise is that yes cyclists are willing to be involved, but that some of us are a bit frustrated by the lack of research on their part. When a weak policy or idea is proposed it can become a stick to beat people with. I monitored much of the comment on #sharetheroadUK/twitter and it seemed to attract that typical anti who just wanted to abuse, rant and point the finger.