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Image a parallel universe where family cycling was being discussed by our politicians as part of the EU referendum campaigning. I wonder if the press reports would read something like this.......
The Leave campaign has today been wooing voters with a promise that if Britain votes to leave the EU on Thursday 23rd June there will be additional money available to invest in cycling. Michael Gove (Conservative) confirmed that spending will increase by £50.27. "Being in the EU has seriously constrained our ability to invest in cycling. Even the Dutch only spend £24. A vote to leave in the EU referendum means a vote for more investment in cycling. We predict that by exiting the EU there will be an additional £12.14 to spend on teaching kids to cycle, and a further £39.15 to provide well designed, cycling infrastructure near schools across the length and breadth of the UK."
Gove was immediately accused by the Remain campaign of confusing voters by using inaccurate figures, and quoting a mix of total and per capita figures in the same example. "This is another example of Gove talking out of his bicycle pump. He's throwing made up and unreliable statistics at an already confused public" said Chancellor George Osborne.
Cycling Minister Robert Goodwill also poured scorn on Gove's claims that a further £50.27 would be available for cycle funding. "We all know that this government has a proud and reliable track record on cutting investment in cycling provision. Only last month it was confirmed that funding for cycling is set to fall by 70 percent within five years. Regardless of whether Britain stays or leaves the EU, this Conservative government will proudly continue to invest in road transportation over active travel."
Remain campaigners from within British academia warned that should Britain vote to leave the EU, there would be a significant impact on the transfer of intellectual knowledge. "We rely heavily on seeing what the Dutch and Danes are doing, trying to copy them but missing out some of the important safety bits. If we leave the EU, our transport planners will need to reinvent the cycle path, so to speak" said one University vice-chancellor.
In a separate move, David Cameron warned parents that by voting to leave the EU in Thursday's referendum, they risked adding £22.50 to each family cycling holiday in Holland. According to the Prime Minster, the growing number of parents taking their kids on family cycling holidays to Holland during the school holidays, where they can ride their bikes safely on great cycling infrastructure, will face additional queues as border controls are tightened. "As any parent knows, queuing is a nightmare when you have children. We predict that the need to buy magazines with crap plastic toys attached and high sugar snacks which send them loopy whilst boarding the ferry will add over £22 to the cost of an average family cycling holiday in Holland" the Prime Minister grimly warned supporters gathered at a "Vote Remain" party in Westminster.
Boris Johnston retorted immediately by urging patriotic British parents to holiday in London rather then Holland, adding "During my time as Mayor of London I was incredibly proud to have made London just as good, if not better, than Amsterdam for cycling with young children. I am confident that in the post-Brexit world we will see huge economic benefits, as international tourists flock to London for their cycling holidays."
Meanwhile, the Leave campaign fought to quell rumours that Brexit would lead to chaos within the family cycling economy. Cargo bike stockists have written an open letter to the Times warning that should Britain leave the EU it would be increasingly difficult to keep up with demand for Dutch cargo bikes from London families keen to use the new Cycling Super Highway.
In a shock move yesterday lunchtime the German Chancellor, Angela Merkell, warned that Brexit could result in German Cube kids bikes no longer being exported to the UK. The value of second hand Islabikes on Ebay rose 15% following this announcement, but had fallen back by 8% by the time markets closed.
Meanwhile, a nationwide shortage of Frog Bikes has been blamed on Brexit fearing cycle retailers. The possibility of Wales declaring independence and remaining in the EU, should the leave campaign win, has led to fears of excessive import taxes on Frog Bikes. The kids bike manufacturer recently moved manufacturing to South Wales, and industry insiders have warned a new Welsh export tax would spell disaster for independent bike shops. Reports of 5 year old children leaving bike shops sobbing due to lack of stock of Frog Bikes were dismissed by the Leave campaign as a smear tactic by the Remain camp.
Finally, in the capital, cycle campaigners confirmed they are seeking legal advice on whether the Mini-Hollands will have to be renamed should the Leave campaign win.
Now back to real life......
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