1 MINUTE CAMPAGIN – get better cycle paths
Would you like to cycle and walk more instead of having to get in the car for short journey, but don't because it's not safe?
Would you like to get better cycle paths or footpaths in your neighbourhood? (or indeed any cycle paths or footpaths).
Did you get a bit depressed during COP26, thinking, "I would get out my car more, if only I felt safer"?
Are you worried about the rising cost of running your car?
Would you and your family be fitter and healthier if you could build a bit of exercise into your daily commute?
Is your child pestering you to ride their bike more, but you're too scared to let them?
If you answered "yes" to any of these then there's a REALLY quick and easy way at the moment to get your voice heard.
Less than a minute to get better cycle paths
The helpful people at Cycling UK are currently running a campaign that allows you to automatically email the person responsible for transport in your local area.
If you are really pushed for time, all you need to do is enter your name and postcode and press "Send" and it's done. However, I tend to find these things work better if you spend two or three minutes personalising things.
Then it's obviously you REALLY feel passionately about this - and all councillors know that this is where votes come from.
If they hear enough people caring passionately about something, they're likely to realise they can impress the electorate by doing something about it.
Less than 3 minutes to really get the message through
Here's my suggested draft to add at the top of the email.
Note: the editor on the Cycling UK website will time out in 10 minutes, so you may want to work on this in Word, or your own email editor, before cutting and pasting it into the Cycling UK email.
My name is xxxx and I live on xxxx (your road, town).
I would really like to cycle/walk from my house to xxxxx (where you want to go)
If you have a child add in with my child who is xx years old add in if you have a cargo bike / trailer / seat etc or if they're riding their own bike
Unfortunately at the moment I can't do this because xxxxxxxxx (the thing that is stopping you)
common reasons are:
too many fast cars
no safe segregated infrastructure
too many parked cars
lack of safe crossing points
no dropped kerbs
nowhere safe to leave your bike when you get there.
I’m writing to ask about xxxxx (get the authority name from the draft email) plans to improve walking / cycling infrastructure in my area.
If there's something unique to your area like a building development, a public consultation, a campaign, mention this now, so they know you're informed, and care about local issues.
For example you could put something like I was really disappointed to see in the recent consultation on cycling and walking that there was no provision going anywhere near xxxx school. Can you please explain why getting safe routes to local schools is not a priority?
You can either delete the rest of the email, or if you want you can link into it with:
I think it is really important that the UK starts to seriously reduce carbon emissions from transport - now the UK’s worst polluting sector, responsible for 27% of our total greenhouse gas emissions.
If you're making a specific point in detail it's best to delete the rest of the draft Cycling UK email so as to not confuse things
And that's it! Should take no more than a couple of minutes, and you've gone your little bit to help make things better.
Spread the word
Know other people who would like to walk and cycle in your area but can't? Share this article with them.
Your existing WhatsApp groups, Facebook Groups etc can be a great way to do this.
There really is power in numbers. The more people who make a noise about an issue, the more likely it is to go up the agenda.
Councillors are elected and they (usually) want to be re-elected. They work out what issues are really important to people, important enough for them to take time out to write about.
If you can get a bit of local momentum going then change is more likely to happen. It won't be quick - particularly in areas with very risk adverse councils, but in a way it's more important that they get to hear about what people like YOU really want.
What do I do if I get a response?
This is entirely up to you:
You could just read and nod in agreement, or shake your head in frustration.
You could reply and question them on the specifics - is it satisfactory to you, or are they just fobbing them off?
You can pass on to your local campaigning group, if there is one.
You can set up your own campaigning group - on your road, in your neighbourhood, at your school.