Who would miss you if you got squashed by a lorry? That’s the question Nick Hussey of clothing company Vulpine asked last week at the start of a campaign to try and demonstrate the human cost of the cycling road toll.
Appealing on Twitter and through his blog, Nick asked, “Help us create a campaign to highlight the human cost of impatient and dangerous driving.
“Cyclists have loved ones who'd miss them if they died.”
Vulpine appealed for cyclists to send photos of their families. “We want to create something moving and lovely,” he tweeted. “This is not a Vulpine promo and won't feature our name.”
The inspiration came from an incident Vulpine’s Jools ‘LadyVelo’ Walker witnessed on her way to work last week.
“I've been thinking for a long time about what the simplest, most effective way to improve conditions and attitudes towards cyclists,” Nick wrote. “Something that is effective NOW. I don't have the resources to change infrastructure. But Vulpine has multi-media skills and great contacts in the media. I was wondering how to use them.
“Then Jools had to endure a horrible morning earlier this week, just as London Cycling were organising a protest asking for Space For Cycling, after yet another cyclist death, Alan Neve.
“As she headed to work she turned a corner to find a woman next to an HGV with a bike under its wheels. She was injured and in shock, but thankfully she did not have life threatening injuries. Not surprisingly Jools was very upset, from looking after the victim for sometime at the roadside. We have no idea who was to blame. But it comes at a time when there have been a number of road deaths and the roads, in the heat, feel ever more crammed with impatient drivers and worried cyclists. This is an international problem, as more cyclists take to the road and cities change, but mindsets don't.
“An extra bit of impatience or a decision to overtake or turn, made too fast, could create a mourning family. Cyclists are the most fragile and vulnerable road users. I hope we can make that more real. It won't be made for cyclists. It'll be made for the wider public.”
Using pictures of the loved ones, friends and even pets who would be left behind, Nick plans to create “a highly emotive piece that will highlight the human stories behind the cyclist that drivers pass to near to, or overtake then take left, shout at or ignore. If it can change the cycling environment 1/1000th of a percent, that's a few happier, safer cyclists.”
Nick was deluged with replies on Twitter and has posted a selection of pics on the Vulpine blog, including the ones here.
Want to contribute?
Send your pictures to info [at] vulpine.cc or tweet or Instagram using the hashtag #CyclistFamily
As Nick says, they can be of anyone you’d leave behind: “Maybe it's your kids. Maybe your prize goats. Your best mates. Your team. Your Dad.
“The things that you care about most. The things all of us humans love and thus share and can identify with.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.