Tuesday, 27 July 2010

"Cycling Revolution" flops in Hammersmith

Boris Johnson is fond of talking about a Cycling Revolution, it's one of his centre-piece policies that he hopes will see him re-elected in 2012. You may have noticed lots of blue paint being put down on certain roads around the city and being called "cycle super highways". The problem is nobody seems to have told the car drivers who merrily drive on them as well whenever I've been looking. Paint is cheap.

In Hammersmith & Fulham we seem to have a very awkward view of cyclists, who routinely get criticised at public meetings for riding in places they shouldn't. And now, it seems, we have failed to take up Boris' offer of becoming cycling revolutionaries. In fact completely failed. In fact, it's safe to say the good people of the Bush are not revolutionaries at all. We'd rather have a cup of tea.

You see, we have failed to take up TfL's offer of "guided cycle tours", which were on offer in June in order to train would-be cyclists to get to work and back along these marvellous new blue superhighways. So much so, in fact, that the guided cycle tours have been cancelled! Of the two guided cycle tours, of which one was on June 16th and the other on June 30th only one person turned up. That's right, one. On the 16th. And none on the 30th!

The LibDems on the London Assembly think this flop, which was mirrored across the city, is down to bad marketing. Here's what Caroline Pidgeon AM, their leader in London, asked of Boris with his reply:

Cycle Fridays (2)

Question No: 2273 / 2010

Caroline Pidgeon

Can you give an outline of how the publicity strategy differed to last year’s, in light of the low participation rate last year?

Answer from the Mayor

Between last year and this year the approach differs in the following ways:

Link to existing cycle programmes: Cycle Fridays was a standalone initiative, marketed via an advertising campaign. This year, rides are being offered as a support product to help individuals take advantage of existing cycling programmes including the London Cycle Challenge and Barclay’s Cycle Superhighways. The publicity for the rides is incorporated into existing programme channels; the only cost incurred is for the rides themselves.

Create a flexible programme, which responds to demand: Last year the number of rides publicised were fixed, but this year TfL is closely monitoring participation in the rides.
Roll out the rides in short bursts: Last year TfL publicised a block of rides for 10 weeks and participation dropped off over time. This year, each set of rides will last no longer than five weeks before a break. If a particular programme is not generating sufficient demand, the remaining rides can be scaled back or cancelled
Change the name: Awareness of Cycle Fridays was relatively high; however understanding of what was on offer was lower. To make this clear, TfL changed the name to ‘Guided Cycle Rides’.

Ah, you changed the name. That's what your problem was Mr Mayor! In the meantime here is some evidence of how ineffective the blue paint seems to be thus far:

1 comment:

  1. Yes - according to the highway code, cycle lanes need dashed or solid lines - there's no mention of them needing to be aquamarine though.