Cycling facilities in the UK are infamous for being poor quality. From Coronation Road in Bristol to central London, cycling path fails are ubiquitous in this country, and there’s a pervasive atmosphere of low-level anti-cyclist hostility that can make cycling a deeply unsettling experience.
Thankfully, the rise of helmet cameras and cycling awareness is making overt acts of anti-cyclist aggression less common, but it can still be dangerous just to ride, with innocent cyclist accidents being something we see far too often here at Loyalty Law.
Here are our top three cycling activists in the UK to read. Here’s hoping their ideas, insights, and activism can help reduce our workload a bit.
Image by Sam Saunders
Dave Prince is the owner of the cycle Harrogate blog. His activism mostly revolves around real, relevant cycling campaigns at a practical, grassroots level.
The cycle Harrogate blog reminds us all of the importance of getting involved with politics at the local level with its pragmatic approach to cycling activism and campaigning.
Although it is, for obvious reasons, focussed on Harrogate, the techniques illustrated and issues raised seem like perfect common sense once he’s applied them to literal, real world examples, and it’s great inspiration for creating your own local cycling activism blogs.
Remember that the safer your local roads are, the fewer excuses bad drivers have for causing bicycle road accidents.
Carlton Reid owns multiple sites dedicated to broad cycle activist issues.
I Pay Road Tax is probably the most useful of the bunch for internet arguments, because it’s a comprehensive rebuttal to the people who will argue that since cyclists pay no road tax, they’re second-class road users.
In actuality, as I Pay Road Tax explains, road tax hasn’t been in existence since 1937. The tax some motorists are referring to when they talk about road tax, vehicle excise duty or VED, is paid based on emissions. This means that even some car drivers don’t have to pay VED.
Continuing the theme of rebutting anti-cyclist arguments based on a poor grasp of the facts is the more confrontational Roads Were Not Built For Cars, maybe more of a present for a converted cyclist, but still a highly polished piece of cycling activism and cycling history.
His Twitter is also well worth a read.
David Hembrow writes from a perspective informed by a lot of time spent in the Netherlands, which has one of the most cycle-friendly infrastructures of any country.
His most popular blog, a view from the cyclepath offers insightful commentary on the Dutch system, including quirks and counter-intuitive decisions that have made life much easier and safer for Dutch cyclists.
If you’re looking for hard data based on real life situations to support your views on cycling, you could do worse than using his blog as a jumping-off point, as he has many fantastic anecdotes and a decent range of interesting statistics.
Read And Promote All These Writers!
All of these writers offer something to the cycling community, especially the cycling activist community.
Dave Prince shows us practical steps we can take to influence local politics, Carlton Reid refutes silly arguments used against making cycling safer, and David Hembrow gives us the solid stats and ammunition activists can use to lobby powerful policy-makers.
Even if you don’t necessarily agree with cycling activism, these are the people we think you should be reading if you want to engage with some of the best points that cycling activists have to make.
Of course, if you do want to make roads safer and easier to use for cyclists, we really think you should be reading these writers, and promoting them as much as possible. Their views deserve to be heard!