Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Boris Johnson's Cycle Friday scheme scrapped

Boris Johnson's Cycle Friday scheme has been scrapped after the total number of Londoners taking place dropped to just five.

At one meeting place just one Londoner turned up and at five others the rides were cancelled due to no Londoners turning up at all.

After a second week of no-shows, the Cycle Friday project was scrapped with Boris admitting that turnout had been "far lower than planned."

The scheme whereby Boris and a team of "marshals" guide novice cyclists to work ran for a limited period last year.

The mass of publicity that accompanied the scheme included television coverage, a celebrity prize and "twitter cards."

This resulted in less than a hundred Londoners taking part each week, with City Hall even resorting to massaging the figures.

Despite this, the scheme was resurrected this year, but this time with the bright idea of paying for no dedicated publicity at all.

Here's the result:

Cycle Fridays will now be replaced with a new scheme whereby riders register their interest in advance with rides only taking place "in response to sufficient levels of demand."

With "sufficient levels of demand" presumably meaning "more than none."

Liberal Democrat Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon said today:

"After last year's flop of Cycle Fridays and the dismal figures for this year's events it should be obvious to the Mayor and Transport for London that guided cycle events simply aren't working.

"Insetad of flogging an idea that isn't working Transport for London should concentrate on making the roads safer for cyclists and ensuring that cycle superhighways and cycle routes are kept clear."

Earlier this week the Mayor launched the first two of his "Cycle Superhighways."

When completed the lanes will cost London an estimated £168 million.

Let's hope they work a bit better than Cycle Fridays did.


Alice said...

It was a bloody stupid day of the week to pick. (a) people are more likely to want to go for a drink afterwork, (b) people feel tired and lazy and (c) drivers are more dangerous on friday evenings (see points a and b and ask most London cyclists)

AdamB said...

Yes it was a nice idea but ill conceived. City Hall thought they could promote it purely through the sheer force of Boris's personality. See also the dire turnout at State of London this year.

Helen said...

Why not put it online as a virtual Cycle Friday? According to Dan Ritterband, that increases public participation, like it didn't with State Of London this year.

Jon said...

Critical Mass seem to have no problem attracting cyclists.

AdamB said...

It' amazing what some good organisation and publicity can achieve.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

What's happening with the Barclays bike scheme? Has that fallen behind schedule?

AdamB said...

Yes it is being delayed with only registered users able to use it until a month later

It was meant to start in May originally

saifu03 said...

Classic "journalist policy". It sounds so simple when you think about it. Sorry, I mean don't think about it.
Initially, I thought it was a good idea but the choice of Friday is pretty poor. Guided rides sound so good, but you need to cycle to the start unguided and from the end unguided (less of an issue). How am I, as an outer Londoner, meant to get to Swiss Cottage? Cycle unguided? I've just done the hard bit, why meet up with some other people?
Classic tory pre-cut policy too - organise but either make it rubbish or unknown. Point to failure -> say we may as well cut it.
At least it has not cost over £150m...

prj45 said...

I sometimes lead large groups across town. Any more than about eight people and your average speeds goes down to about 8mph or the whole thing just splits up into pieces.

I presume the same effect applies here, and that many just cycled off as it was too slow.

Anonymous said...

Drinking and then cycling home is one of the best things you can do on a bike.

I highly recommend it - suddenly everything seems much safer...