Monday, 23 November 2009
For some time now I've been aware of the Darlington Media Group's production Beauty and the Bike, which is to have its premier on the 9th of December in Darlington in the UK.
In this project, investigating why it is that British teenage girls don't cycle in the same way as their German counterparts do, a group of British girls from Darlington were taken to Bremen in Germany.
The British girls ride bikes infrequently. The German girls ride a lot. Even from this short from the film you can see why this is. The infrastructure in Germany supports and encourages cycling as a means of transport, while the infrastructure in the UK does not.
From the Darlington Cycling Campaign Blog:
"Why do British girls stop cycling? By simply asking this basic question, the film reveals the damage that has been done by 50 years of car-centric transport policies. Whilst we fill our lives with debates about risk assessment, cycle helmets, cycle training and marketing strategies to try to persuade people to cycle more, the basic barriers to cycling remain untouched - generous urban planning towards the car, and the resultant poor motorist behaviour towards cyclists. Is it any wonder that most people find cycling unattractive in the UK, but attractive in cycling-friendly towns and cities? It's the infrastructure, stupid!"
In other words: it's all about subjective safety
Darlington is one of the "Cycling Demonstration Towns" in Britain. They have recently produced a report on the effectiveness of what has been achieved so far.
After the cycling demonstration town initiative, 2.9% of Darlington pupils have cycling as their usual mode of travel to school. Just under 23% of the adult population of the town have used a bicycle in a typical week in the previous year.