Presentation at VeloCity Conference 2016, Taipei, Taiwan
All panellists were asked by the ECF’s Fabian Küster, moderator for the panel discussion, to answer three questions. I decided to publish them in advance of my presentation (1 March) in a bullet-format. Here we are, Fabian’s questions and my answers relevant to the UK scene and situation:
1. What are the ingredients of success for becoming a strong and vocal cycling advocacy community?
A1: Collection of groups united behind a single message (ie urban design and building cycleways, and a big budget for it), with a mixture of skills (advocacy, academia, media, doers, thinkers, planners, community organisers and political activists), all to lend their clear and strong voice, share and create it, as well as amplify it
2. What are the most successful tools for cycling campaigners? What works, but also what doesn’t work?
A2: Recognising that a single message is necessary for wider unity and a collective cooperative effort is what we are currently lacking in England. There are great examples of pockets of local activism, and a nationally combining and combined effort is now much overdue. The “cycling community” has not managed to burst out of their own bubble and still often sits in an echo chamber “talking to themselves”. Narratives, stories and pictures are as yet missing. Cooperation and coordination to create coherence is needed
3. To what arguments do politicians and the administration listen most?
A3: In a neoliberal world of politics it’s hard to answer that question. A lot of decisions are made with irrational short-termism and out of perceived opportunism. Campaigns are often forced to be reactive, and planning ahead can be difficult. The argument, I’d say, returns to the importance of feeding decision-makers a consistent and simple message, coming from a group with unity and cohesion