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does anyone actually campaign?

stratcatstratcat Posts: 160
edited January 2011 in Campaign
Hi there

I have cycled for many years just to keep fit and did so early in the morning. I rarely saw other humans as I lived in a semi rural area and wasn’t ‘into it’ enough to see forums like this on the web or join a club. A few years ago I moved even further into the countryside and have been cycling more and more. I joined my local club and have become more immersed into the world of cycling (why didn’t I do it sooner? :oops: ). I discovered all the lovely cycle forums with so many people venting their spleen about how bad it is on the road and indeed I have experienced this myself, although I guess no where near as bad as those of you who commute through the towns and cities.

I have been a motorcyclist almost all my life and I have seen a seismic shift in the way motorcyclists are perceived by the establishment. I’m not talking about the motorists who generally perceive any rider in leathers as a hells angel about to kick their heads in (bad thing?) No, I’m talking about going into a bank or a shop or even in the media and the ‘system’ who used to look at you as if you were a hells angel about to rob them (bad thing!) but now see most motorcyclists as pretty cool.

I think a lot of it is to do with the rise in motorcycle sales as a lifestyle hobby, so much so, that lots of people know others who ride and own motorcycles even if they only ride on sunny Sundays in months without an R in them. There is now a feeling that today if you go into a bank the manager might own a Fireblade, while the solicitor you go to see owns a Harley (stereotypes of course, but you get the idea!) so they are ‘in the club’. I think the groups like the Motorcycle action group (MAG) and to a lesser extent the British motorcyclist federation (BMF) have used this growth to their advantage in lobbying parliament and almost nagging them into submission on issues pertinent to ‘their cause’.

I see a similar situation here in the world of cycling, there must be more people on bikes than on motorbikes just because it’s cheaper (I’m guessing). I recently asked whether things were busy in a cycle shop and they said they were rushed off their feet, in a recession every buys bikes apparently! With the rise in costs of living and the recent surge in interest in cycling why are the cycling bodies not pushing their political stance? As a member of the motorcycle groups I was asked to write letters to my MP all the time to push ‘our’ agenda and whilst I can’t say it was a quick process, things do/have moved on. Even as a non member of the groups I was always aware of the campaigns but in cycling I am not aware of anything at all. Do the CTC not particularly care what’s going on? Is it more a London biased issue with LCC taking the fight forward…indeed is there a fight? Are cyclists just happy to moan on forums and not do anything about it? Am I missing something?

We are in politically turbulent times and while politicians don’t want to lose votes from large swathes of the population (motorists) if we all write to our politicians regularly telling them about how dangerous it is and how things could be improved they might realise that they stand to lose large swathes of votes (the cyclists!). It seems as cycling is on the crest of a wave it is the perfect opportunity to start to bring people into the fold, maybe reaching out to the casual cyclist (like I was) and to push back against the image that cycling has(lycra louts?) to the minority of motorists/road planners/politicians who seem to do their damnest to make life difficult for those on two wheels.

Thanks for reading and hopefully answering!

Posts

  • I'm not sure that politicians are running scared of motorists,who seem to get a regular kicking by any political party in power.(speed cameras,fuel tax,congested crumbling road network etc.).I admire your idealism but fear that cyclists sit pretty low down in the food chain when we hold out our begging bowl asking for more.
    Pretty defeatist I admit but entirely realistic.Maybe we should import some Dutch politicians to show our lot how it can be done.
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    stratcat looks like you are talking yourself into a role as spokesman/co-ordinator.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • stratcatstratcat Posts: 160
    dilemna wrote:
    stratcat looks like you are talking yourself into a role as spokesman/co-ordinator.

    yeah I was worried that might be suggested :lol::lol:

    It just seems that there are already in existence cycling groups e.g. ctc and there doesn't seem to be a week go by when I don't read something on here about near misses, road rage or the worst of all, a death.

    I understand the feeling that we are low in the pecking order, but if you don't shout, no one will hear you :shock:
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