The Big Picture

Just a thought, but I'm not sure anyone's voiced it, and I think it's worth consideration if nothing else:

Given the fact that Barclays are no longer going to fund the Cycle Hire scheme, are our high profile protest events actually having a net negative effect?

Logic is as follows:

Mass cycling is a Very Good Thing and Cycle Hire has gone a long way IMHO to helping that. I'm guessing that losing a big sponsor is a very bad thing for its future expansion. From what I can tell, Barclays were not overjoyed about the negative publicity coming from the tragic spate of recent deaths (of course amongst a number of considerations), and this may hve tipped the balance in favour of not renewing their sponsorship. Also, seemigly a scarily high proportion of cyclists have stopped after the recent deaths and publicity (

There is clearly a lot more media attention on safety in cycling than in previous years, despite the overall death toll being (big-picture) constant for the last few years, and the LCC is clearly a driver of this. We have gone out of our way to make sure that the media do not ignore the plight of cyclists on the roads.

Would London's cyclists have been better off with less attention on the negative aspects of cycle safety and more corporate cash supporting mass cycling and less terrified cycle commuters? I think I could probably be pursuaded either way with the right evidence/argument. 

That wasn't brilliantly articulated, but I hope you get the point. Would be interested to hear other views.

This post was edited by thuzbuz at 8:09pm 18 December 2013.


So, to paraphrase, should we quietly put up with dangerous junctions and badly designed infrastructure created for the Barclays Superhighways so TfL can build more of the same?


  • By showes at 8:37am 16 December 2013

The cycle hire scheme is not going away any time soon (given its expanded) and a new sponser is not an awful thing. At the end of the day Barclays were only signed up for a limmited time anyway. The surveys shown on the BBC were very small sample sizes and the reasons for people stopping is not 100% clear. Many people will have stopped cycling as its got colder or wetter. So the argument boils down to we should not speak up and ask for better as people might get scared away from cycling. If this is the case how do we ever speak up and ask for better ? If we say everything is fine they will tell us 'well then you dont need better infra'. So whats your stratergy ? As it appear that your kind of advocating doing nothing. As people have been calling attention to the postives of cycling since year dot. Be it health, reduced traffic , faster journeys etc. Thouse voices are still active. So what would be your plan? What would you have done differently ?

As I think right now the protests are making good ground and have got the Mayor and Tfl to revist some of there existing stuff and make better plans. Its not going to be perfect and the pressure needs to be kept on but if we get good infra and the cycling deaths drop, people feel safe cycling etc then more will come and I am not sure that having Barclays on board is essential.

  • By thuzbuz at 8:09pm 18 December 2013

Hi guys,

I think it's a dramatic oversimplification to boil the choice down to "protesting and fearing scaring people off, or simply shutting up" (and if that were the choice, I would be in the protesting camp).

With a little more reflection, what I guess I was trying to do (albeit very badly) was ask people whether they have honestly thought about:

i) what our stratgic goals are

ii) what tactics are available to achieve them, and

iii) what are the effects of using those tactics?


As an example if the goal is to reduce deaths, tactics could include:

i) writing a lot of letters to Boris asking him politely to ban lorries without sidebars

ii) having die-ins at particularly dangerous junctions in the hope that they will be redesigned in a cycle friendly manner

iii) engaging in civil disobedience on a large scale until our demands are met

iv) praying en masse to whichever deity you believe in.

Consequences of i) is that not much will likely happen in a hurry, but if it does it would probably go a long way to helping things ii) that something might well happen but with potential adverse publicity effects, iii) that the LCC will be declared a terrorist organisation and iv) depends on your level of faith.

There are many ways to skin a cat - I know that I hadn't thought through what the best approach is - I'm wondering if anyone else had?

This post was edited by thuzbuz at 9:20pm 18 December 2013.

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