Cycle Industry News)
Want more people to cycle? Campaign for cycling infrastructure. What happens next could be of interest to the cycle industry too. Here is just one story of many, the Newcastle story: In 2010 I co-founded newcycling.org, the cycling campaign in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with my co-activist Claire Prospert – now 1,600 members strong with many of us giving freely our spare time to campaign for better cycling infrastructure in Newcastle. Our six year anniversary is coming up soon for newcycling.org. An anniversary always seems a good time to stop for a moment, and look back and reflect. So, after some early reflection, here are my top five campaigning tips, that I hope others may find useful. You can use these to start a new campaign, or you can use them to check your existing campaign against these five points.
Top Tip #1 – Be very clear about your campaigning goal
Understanding what you are campaigning for is key to successful campaigning. For Newcastle we knew it was the cycle infrastructure that is so sorely lacking (and hence the reason why so few people are cycling in Newcastle). We wanted to concentrate on seeing improvements in the cycling infrastructure, and broader urban design. It’s probably true, we don’t necessarily see ourselves as cyclists, more as urbanists wanting a better city. And yes, cycle infrastructure and road design are a super big thing to campaign for, but it’s a vital thing that’s needed in UK cities.
Once you have your goal, keep your aim… any deviations away from that, it’d be high time to reassess and ask your campaign if you are still doing the right thing, and adjust accordingly. Be organised, have annual meetings, have annual campaign plans. Be open about your goal, and publish everything that’s related to your activity. Yes, good organisation is vital.
Figure 1 – Campaign message. From my talk at Women and Cycling Conference in Hereford https://katsdekker.wordpress.com/2016/05/05/we-were-rocking-it-at-wacc2016/