Last year I blogged about the Beauty and the Bike movie. Now there is a summary film from the project giving a little information about what has happened since the film was released.
From the Beauty and the Bike blog: "The excitement of the film premiere is over. Back we go to “normal” life in Darlington. We’ve managed to keep the beautiful dutch bikes – in fact we’re going to buy 40 more this year and expand the bike hire scheme. But how many girls will keep on cycling? We know that cycling is still “uncool” for many UK teenagers – perhaps because it feels so unsafe on our meagre infrastructure? Here, one of the girls from Beauty and the Bike, Lauren Pyrah, comes behind the camera to ask what is happening to the Darlington girls now. Kate, one of the original group, is joined by Francesca to shout the praises of everyday cycling. But Ashley has stopped. Why? And will politicians listen?"
The film and its accompanying book (which explains from the point of view of Beatrix Wupperman about the difference between her youth in bike friendly Bremen in Germany and the experiences of teenagers in bike hostile Darlingon in the UK) are essential reading and viewing for campaigners, especially in English speaking countries, all of which share much the same problems as the UK.
Between them, they offer an exceptional insight into why it is that teenagers in the UK predominantly don't cycle. Teenagers who don't cycle mostly turn into adults who don't cycle. And of course while girls and women in Britain are even less likely to cycle than boys and men, the same issues also prevent males in Britain from cycling to any significant degree.
The book and video are both available from the Beauty and the Bike website. These are exceptional pieces of work and I really can't recommend them highly enough.
As they say on the website: "It's the infrastructure, stupid."
I'm in the film for a few seconds, but it's not about me. You can skip that part if you want...
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The less positive stuff What not to do if you want a cycling "revolution" - Long list of interventions and policies which are not helpful. Copy the best examples from the Netherlands - a short list summarising the above. Important to copy the best examples, not just anything "Dutch". Bear in mind that the Netherlands is not perfect. Shared Space - this much hyped idea simply does not work well. It disenfranchises the vulnerable and claims of safety are exaggerated. Don't confuse the concept with far more successful nearly car free streets. Shared Use Paths designed to be used by pedestrians and cyclists together. These rarely work well because the two user groups are too different and it leads to conflicts. They are not built in the Netherlands (but cycle access to pedestrianized zones is good). Strict (or presumed) liability - If you think this is an important part of why people cycle in the Netherlands then it is probably not what you think it is. Helmets - one of several ways of scaremongering about the supposed dangers of what is actually a very safe means of transport
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A cyclist in a cycling family living in the capital of the cycling province of the world's greatest cycling country.
I was born in the UK, lived for over 8 years in New Zealand and have lived in the Netherlands since 2007.
I organise cycling infrastructure study tours, run an online bicycle shop, arrange cycling holidays and write a popular blog about cycling.
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