July 14, 2016

London Cycling Advocacy

Thanks to Lisa Corriveau for this recap and reaction to SFU-sponsored talk on Cycling at the Crossroads:  Advocacy, Policy and Tools for Change From London, UK.
I was delighted with the topic around advocacy and the public conversation on cycling in London. As Dr. Rachel Aldred discussed, there has been a significant shift there  — and it resembles our shift in many ways.

She had a great analysis of the two main schools of thought when it comes to viewing cycling risk.
The first is one very familiar to those of us in North America: individualization, which emphasizes cycling as a personal choice, frames cycling as dangerous rather than drivers or roads, focusses on individual solutions like wearing safety gear & taking training, & good ol’ victim blaming.
The second model is the socialization of cycling risk, which sees cycling as a public service or part of the transportation system, blames road design &/or drivers for causing danger, focusses on collective solutions like infrastructure as well as legal & policy changes, plus holding politicians to account.


Dr. Rachel Aldred (left) and Lisa Corriveau  (Thanks to Clark Nicolai for the photo)

While I liked seeing another example of “big data” at work to change and improve the planning and conversation around cycling in the UK, I fear that Canada’s weak census data, and general lack of suitably dense data, may prevent us from quickly getting to this level in our planning. Thanks to James Woodcock of the University of Cambridge for describing the open-source Propensity to Cycle Tool.

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