Dublin cycle chic

Want to promote cycling in Ireland? Marketing it, and stop the scaremongering

Dublin cycle chic

Mikael Colville-Andersen, who runs Copenhagenize.com and Copenhagen Cycle Chic. In his own words: “The main point with my blogs is that if cycling is to be an everyday activity then it can easily be done in everyday clothes, like millions of Europeans do every day”.

In a post about the Velo-City conference, he points to a post by Guillaume Van der Stighelen, co-founder of marketing company Duval Guillaume, where Van der Stighelen talks about marketing cycling as a ‘hero brand’

“Most arguments are rational. Less CO2, more mobility, healthier. Well, those drivers know that. But that doesn’t convince them apparently. Let me tell you what the argument is: status it is”.

I suppose Colville-Andersen himself has gone some way in helping branding cycling — on his blogs, talking to the press from a few countries, and in video form:

Copenhagen – City of Cyclists from Colville Andersen on Vimeo.

More here, here, and here. And they even cycle in the snow in Denmark.

So, in Ireland, if government at local and national levels are serious about increasing cycling they need to stop the scaremongering nonsense and the misuse of taxpayers’ money on promotion of yellow vests and helmets. If you want to make sure cyclists are visible enforce the law of bicycle lights use. If you’re going to push cycle helmets which have flawed research backing their use, then promote motoring helmets too.

If you’re, say, the Labour Party and you talk about “Dublin Must Become A Copenhagen Or Amsterdam For Cyclists” then you don’t wear pointless helmets at your photo-shoot. If you’re the Green Party you should need to be told this in the first place. Err… but at least they are being green by reusing the one helmet at their photo-shoot?

Oh, and that’s not Copenhagen in the photograph above, it’s Dublin. And just to prove it’s possible to cycle like a normal person and it’s not a once off, here’s six more people cycling in Dublin, just one is wearing strange gear:

There's always one...

(the 6th person is behind the camera)

ADDED: Pushing ahead with the measures outlined in the recently published National Cycle Policy is needed too, but the importance of marketing is still a missing part of government plans. And not only is government at different levels not marketing cycling, their cheap but false safety promotion makes cycling appear more dangerous than it is — they enforce the myth that cycling is dangerous.

Cyclists, motorists, climate change, and obesity

There’s been a good few anti-cyclist letters appearing in Irish newspapers in the last few years, it looks like it prompted this rant by Trevor White on cycling and motorists, note the quote from a Dutch ambassador to Ireland:

Motorists are remarkably impertinent. Despite constituting a very real threat to their own welfare, to pedestrians, to cyclists and to the environment – in other words, a very real threat to everyone – they still lecture people who ride bicycles on the etiquette of getting from A to B.

Hence our newspapers are full of windy missives from Irate of Killiney, on the menace that cyclists apparently represent. In a sane world such menaces would be locked up.  But this, as we well know, is not a sane world. Hence drivers think it perfectly normal to behave like lunatics, indeed to accuse cyclists of madness, when in fact it is the other way around. Compared to motorists, cyclists are moral angels.

Some years ago a Dutch ambassador to Ireland was asked, on the eve of his return to Holland, to say what most surprised him about Dublin. “That’s easy,” he said. “The contempt with which your motorists treat your cyclists.” That rudeness is officially sanctioned. Indeed despite the fact that there are now two Irish government ministers who cycle to work, cyclists are discouraged at nearly every turn.

The full post ‘On Your Bike!‘ is worth reading.