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.