Sunday, February 27, 2005

Email to a councillor

To: Nick Wallis
Date: 27 February

As Darlington Council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, I'm very interested to know about your own use of cars, car sharing, buses, bicycles and walking during your Council work, and day-to-day. I'd also be interested in the use of various forms of transpot by other Darlington Councillors.

I am part of the recently-founded Darlington Cycle Campaign, and would like to post your reply on my website, http://bikedarlington.blogspot.com, which is currently being used as an interim website for the group.

Our next public meeting is on Tuesday 1st March and I'd very much like to share your response with the group at that time, though I realise this is short notice for a reply.

I'll post Nick's reply if I receive one.

1 comment:

richardgrassick said...

It may be useful to look at:

http://www.thebikezone.org.uk/thebikezone/campaigning/attitudesresearch.html

which outlines research into attitudes, including councillor attitudes, towards cycling. To quote:

As to Local Councillors.


‘Local councillors tend to agree with general pro cycling policies but this support is soft and fades when opposition arises to specific schemes. Supporting cycling is a matter of political expediency, going with the flow, which is a bit hypocritical.’

‘Some appear to know they should be pro-cycling but it does not come easy: The members are supportive but are still not signed up to the cycling culture.’

‘Some councillors and many members of the public are willing to go into print saying that they think cycling is for enthusiasts or even cranks. Even when when they are talking in favour of it, it is not seen as a genuine alternative to car use.’

Some anti-cycling officers were found to believe that even the little support cycling got was too much:

‘The growth is down to a vocal minority. It’s just political, not data led and you cannot justify any of it.’

‘...the members know there is little that can actually be done about congestion here without doing something politically unpopular to car users...’

It will be interesting to hear Counc. Wallis' response. Ultimately, as Karl Marx knew, you have to live something yourself to really feel for it!