30 Cycle Campaign ideas
- Here's the text of an article I submited to Bycycle Magazine - Make
Bikes Count, 30 Cycle campaigning ideas (UK focus)Anna Semlyen
Make Bikes Count for Bycycle 5 - a guide to effective transport
Is working for green transport your higher purpose? Anna Semlyen lists
some practical ideas tohelp you make a difference, whether you have just
five minutes to spare or five years.
1. Be a good role model by localising your life. Cut your own car use
and speeds or becomecar-free before telling others how to behave. Do
you already commute and shop all year round on a well maintained bike
with a basket, panniers or trailer? Are you displaying high visibility
clothing, lights and a bell?
2. Write up to 300 words to the media. Ask for a feature if you need
more space. Either support,suggest or object to a news worthy issue or
other letters. An information sheet on effective letter writing is
available from Open Road.
3. Get involved in local politics. If there is one, attend your
Neighbourhood Forum which may fund your suggestion if a few dozen people
vote "yes". Here in York, the Cycling Officer got 29 ideas this way
last March and could prioritise on-road cycle routes, coloured road
markings, cycle parking, advanced stop lines and crossings of trunk
roads. Personal security on quiet routes can be
improved with lighting and CCTV. Aim to reclaim road space from the
traffic, for instance, two-way cycling on one-way streets.
4. Contact your MP and Councillors on green transport issues. They
don't get as many lobbying letters as you think! Just one from you can
make a big difference. Liaison with the local authority benefited both
the Highland and Lothian Campaigns who won full time cycling staff and
regular consultation forums.
5. Comment on Planning Applications and go to site visits. First ask
for mailings well before the deadline. Request freepost consultations
to save your stamps.
6. Get informed through newsletters, email, reading web sites or
telephone contact with other activists. According to your inclination,
join (and ideally attend) groups such as your local Cycle Campaign,
Transport 2000, Sustrans, CTC, Local Agenda 21, RoadPeace, Reclaim the
Streets, Pedestrians Association, Road Traffic Reduction Campaign and
7. Report faults such as pot holes, failed signals or signage.
8. Ask your Council for a Speed Management Plan, more 20mph areas, Home
Zones and to assist the Police with effective enforcement using cameras.
9. Integrated Transport requires consideration of cycling alongside
walking, cars, rail, bus, tram, ferry, air and so on. There should be
smooth interchanges. Remember that you are always a cyclist even when
not cycling. So, if you consider a driver to be anti-social, tell
them. My husband was in a taxi doing 55mph in a 30mph zone and reported
10. Promote cycle paths in walking zones along "natural desire lines".
An argument against total pedestrianisation is that disabled cyclists
find it difficult to dismount and walk. Godalming campaigners
overturned plans to ban cyclists from the High Street and ran a Pedicab
taxi service for PR. Segregation by a white line is practical for most
11. Convert a friend by offering to help them choose a bike and safe
route to work. Or, become a Proficiency Trainer.
12. Ask for cycling incentives from your employer such as a mileage
allowance, secure and convenient cycle parking, pool bikes,
interest-free bike loans, showers, lockers, a regular cycle to work day
with casual dress and cash for giving up a car parking pass. Discuss
green commuting at your staff meeting. Large organisations could use
post codes to match potential lift-share partners.
13. Compile a Green Commuter Guide for your employer or school. The
University of York's has information on cycle purchase and hire. There
are bus, coach, train and minibus timetables, numbers and web addresses,
plus freephone taxis, car share, car hire and parking details. Leaflets
were delivered by cycle trailer along with 2,000 free cycle maps.
14. Petitions generally go to Councillors. I've done one on racks and
two about speeds. Racks were put in within weeks and the road that cuts
the University here in York is now 30mph, down from 40mph. You could
also ask for car free hours or days of the week. For instance, parts of
Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
are car-free on Sundays.
15. Cycle Maps are a great idea. Offer to assist your Council with
ideas for a strategic cycle network. Maps should ideally be given out
free or be subsidised. The Ordnance Survey wants to enhance standard
maps to include cycle routes. Contact Bob Holland 01703 305026.
16. Research your issue. I've done a sheet comparing car costs to the
alternatives. Other campaigners in York researched the city's Nitrogen
Dioxide levels and found a mean of 50 parts per billion (ppb), over
twice the maximum level for 2005 of 21 ppb! Cambridge cyclists produce
'Position Papers' on issue such as left turn lanes. Asking kids to draw
the location of hazards is used in Safe Routes to Schools.
17. Consider organising, with other campaigners, an open meeting.
Examples are alternatives to the car, slower speeds, pollution or
environmental drama such as a "trial of the car versus the bike". Public
events raise awareness, feature in the media and force decision makers
to answer questions. Whilst you may have a strong cycling agenda, the
theme should always be about local transport
18. Join National Bike Week by organising safe rides to give confidence
to occasional riders. Cyclists' meals are often successful too.
19. Go to Consultations such as Local Transport Day (check the date with
your Council) to influence the Local Transport Plan. Cycle Forums are
another opportunity. Aim for two-monthly meetings chaired by a
Councillor. Strongly fought issues go to Public Inquiry.
20. Win funding like Cambridge cyclists who collaborated with their
Health Authority, University and Council for staff to promote green
travel to work.
21. Transport Noticeboards build awareness. Mine is at a whole food
grocers. It has: information on campaign events and membership; a lift
share offers/wanted grid; public transport details; a graph of traffic
growth and RoadPeace's helpline number. Yours could also include a
bikes wanted and for sale column.
22. Cycle Audit and Review is a new systematic guideline to quantify
cycle-friendliness. Ask your Council to follow the hierarchy of traffic
reduction, calming, management, re-distribution of the carriageway and
then off-road facilities.
23. Enter the National Cycling Awards via the CTC or Cycle Campaign
Network to reward best practice.
24. Poster Campaign, for instance with Open Road's "Ride a Bike Make a
Difference" poster. 25. Run a stall to recruit members and raise
awareness on a Saturday in town or at environmental events. Perhaps you
could give out reflective strips or free bells sponsored by a local
The following are more radical and may involve grey areas of legality.
We list them without necessarily endorsing them.
26. Doctor Bike maintenance days for donations are always popular. But,
beware if faults are not found or properly corrected!
27. Flyers for selfishly parked cars on bike lanes or pavements are
available from Car Busters. "Switch Off Your Engines" flyers used in
Bristol were effective as the Council have since agreed to official
signs. London Reclaim the Streets subvert car ad hoardings with cycle
28. Street parties are media-friendly and best held wherever the need to
curb traffic is greatest.
29. Some campaigners paint cycle lanes if the authorities obstinately
ignore their lawful requests. Others draw an outline to highlight a road
"murder" or serious injury.
30. Critical Mass demonstrations deliberately slow and obstruct peak
evening traffic. "Space frames" are an idea from Montreal which attach
to bikes to enlarge them to car size. They illustrate the huge waste of
space a car uses for an average of just 1.3 people.
Anna Semlyen is a traffic reduction consultant and economist working at
Passenger Transport Networks, a "green" consultancy. She is also a yoga
teacher, writer and with the Cosmos Jugglers (performing at Open Road's
Bike Culture Weeks in York). In 1992 she was knocked off her bike when
a driver ignored a Give Way sign. Anna aims to promote human and
planetary health by
limiting transport damage. She is the author of Cutting Your Car Use
£4.95, Britain's first traffic reduction manual for individuals
FREE add up your car costs worksheet with an A5 stamped addressed
envelope to her at 24 Grange St, York, YO10 4BH, UK
Anna Semlyen, info@...
* 3,600 are killed and nearly a third of a million people report
injuries suffered on British roads every year.
* In towns every 1mph speed reduction cuts injuries by 5%, whilst
typical journey times rise by only about 20 seconds.
* 3 pedestrians were killed last year in crashes with cyclists and all
were on the road.
* Government forecasts for 2016 show an increase of 24-51% in vehicle
kilometers from 1996 levels.
* A good bike with all the safety essentials and insurance costs around
£4 weekly. At 15 miles a week, using a bike for work costs 27p a mile.
Library and Contacts
* UK Cycle Campaign Network 0151 283 6142
* A free cycle funding booklet aimed at Local Authorities is published
by the Bicycle Association (01203 553838). Other funding sources are
the Cycle Touring and Countryside Trust (0121 449 9241), the Energy
Efficiency Best Practice Programme (01235 436747) and your Council's
* RoadPeace help line 020 8964 1021
* National Car Share 01344 861600
* Guidelines for Cycle Audit and Cycle Review, Institution of Highways &
Transportation, 6 Endsleigh St, London WC1H ODZ. £25
* Car Costs Sheet free with SAE to Anna Semlyen, 24 Grange St, York YO10
Cambridge Cycle Campaign www.ccdc.cam.ac.uk/camcycle
National Car Share www.nationalcarshare.co.uk
Car Busters www.carbusters.ecn.cz