Businesses are losing out on trade, Maritime and Transport union is getting much flack and in general people are not too happy.
I mentioned at the start of the article that delays were been caused to “routine journeys”. This hints at the heart of the problem of why London bike adoption trails that of other major cities. People, myself included, fall into routines and do not question the way of doing things. When was the last time one of those daily tube users, stopped, took a breather (which is hard to do on the tube) and asked themselves: Could I possibly do this journey in a different way?
During the tube strike people are asking themselves this question. The London Cycling Campaign has the answer ready: Go by bike!
Marketing materials, organised groups of cyclists following the routes of the tube lines (bike tubes) and a tube strike website where all part of the arsenal that London Cycling Campaign had prepared. Whilst bloggers have reported varying degrees of success for the bike tubes themselves, the success of biketube.org.uk is undeniable and it reportedly received over 30,000 hits in the run up to the strike. More importantly this experience may have been an eye opener for many commuters.
However, one day is not really enough. For real change to happen people need to continue to ask themselves this question. Then we may see real changes on the road. This is why I want the tube strike to continue.
From those that tried cycling for the first time there has been much positive response. Yesterday evening looking at the Facebook statuses of many of my contacts, people were saying how much they enjoyed cycling into work and how they had not considered it before. Many of my non-cycling friends spoke about how they feel fresher and more awake from cycling. The Times has a good article on people that took part and saw it as a positive experience that would not have occurred if it wasn’t for the strike. I believe this is the push that people need to adopt cycling.
Sure there will be backlash against cycling with people tweeting about the danger of too many inexperienced cyclists but the overwhelming evidence is that more cyclists means more road safety. Therefore the existing cyclist community should embrace beginners. It can be scary out there for people when they first take up cycling but there are many benefits to be enjoyed.
Only time will tell if this experience will have a lasting effect on the London transportation scene. To those on strike I say go ahead and strike for a few more days it may end up doing a lot of good for London. For the regular cyclists out there, ask your colleagues – why are they stuck on the tube day after day doing a journey they don’t enjoy?
Some useful links:
- Bike to work: Bike the Strike book special from popular cyclist Carlton Reid
- Beat the popular reasons for not taking up cycling
- Is it time for you to buy a bike? Make sure you get the best deal possible with our negotiation tips
- Defeat that puncture that has stopped you getting into cycling for ages with our online bike repair resources or recommended bike repair books.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.