We’re preparing the first “Campaign” to promote cycling in the city and the roll out of the Bike Plan. This Campaign borrows established techniques from the Girl Scouts – sit in front of stores and get in people’s face.
The City worked hard to try and get awareness and interest in the On-Street Bike Plan in 2011. They had meetings with the local bike clubs, they held meetings in schools, they worked with the Sustainability Group, they had notices in your water bill, they had notices in the town newsletter. When we got involved with the Bike Plan, very few people in the grocery store had any idea the city was preparing to review and start a bike plan. Most “average joe” people we talk to on bicycles (this is not the club cyclists) have any idea what’s going on. I blame the isolationist environment we’ve created from the attached garage to social media – but that’s another story.
The issue popped up – there’s no common media anymore. It’s really difficult to get people’s attention! On the other hand everyone I know has Girl Scout Cookies…
If we want to get the word out that McKinney is becoming a better place to ride your bike and we need your help to make it happen then the most effective way appears to be getting in people’s face. Park it right there when they go buy socks. You’ll come out of the grocery store and wonder why someone is talking bicycles in the parking lot.
This seemed like a good idea, but I have run into more than one person who thinks that pushing awareness would be bad, and might make people resist what we’re trying to accomplish. While I agree we don’t want to be vacuum cleaner salespeople in front of the stores (pushy sucks and I don’t care what you’re selling) if we don’t work to increase awareness we risk failure by apathy or ignorance.
But more importantly – if the city is going to become Bike Friendly, it has to be the City doing it. not some of us trying to impose our will on the uninvolved.
I think getting the awareness up and the word out will help everyone. Those who really want to be able to ride or want safer conditions need to know what’s going on so they can get involved. Those who don’t want this to happen need to know so they can also be heard, and those who just don’t know or care need to know so they can form their own opinion without having someone else form one and give it to them.
And then, when most of us know and have an opinion one way or the other, we can accomplish something.