Cycling Embassy AGM: A Clearer Vision


Cycling Embassy members joined NewCycling campaigners at Newcastle this weekend for the Embassy's third AGM. As well as looking back at what the Embassy had achieved since its foundation, the weekend was a chance to shape its future now that the landscape of cycle campaigning in the UK has shifted radically. When it was founded the Embassy was the only national voice calling explicitly for a Dutch-style approach to cycling provision. It was born out of a frustration that just across the North Sea our neighbours were enjoying first class, subjectively safe, mass cycling while UK cycling campaigners and policy makers seemed determined to ignore or even disparage what was to us the obvious way to bring about 8-80 cycling. But since then the world of UK cycling policy has seen big changes with the LCC's successful Go Dutch campaign, the recent Dutch Embassy cycling conferences, CTC's Cycletopia, and segregated solutions being implemented or trialled from Glasgow to Brighton via Manchester and London. 

Where does that leave the Embassy? It quickly became clear in the discussion that despite pockets of change here and there, there is still work to be done. What is meant by 'Going Dutch', what counts as good provision, what the obstacles are to building safe continuous cycle networks, what can be done now, how best to change the hearts and minds of politicians, local authorities, highway engineers (and even cyclists) - all these questions remain to be answered. We agreed that for the next year we will concentrate on clarifying that vision and building a resource for politicians and campaigners, national and local, to use.

Over the next few months you will start to see changes on our website as we begin to turn this vision into reality. We will also be looking to tap into the enthusiasm and expertise of our members to build a knowledge base of best practice and guidance. The last two years have shown us that we were not alone in looking across the North Sea and thinking 'we want what they're having'; the next year will help us turn that into a reality