Rebranding the oxymorons

The ever-shrewd Hackney Cyclist recently tweeted:

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The myopic vision of creating two types of cycle routes according to who is in charge of building them has created the paradoxical result that the Super Highways, meant for fast cyclists, actually deliver perceived safety to everyone, most importantly for young and old,

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Cycling Super Highway

whereas the Quietways, left in the hands of lazy Councils, fail completely in providing a pleasant environment for the “less confident cyclists”.

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Quietway

 

It is a paradox that the branding guru, now Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Will Norman cannot fail to perceive.

He has already expressed his opinion that the term Cycling Super Highway has become toxic, because (wrongly) associated with fast, anti-social cycling. Many people who are not presently cycling, perceive CSHs as facilities for existing cyclists, not as civilising intervention to make our streets more liveable and more usable by everyone.

Whereas the brand launched by Lucy Saunders, Healthy Streets, is a winning one, (as long as it actually delivers), the dichotomy of Fast/Quiet Cycle Routes should now be discarded.

Of course the problem is not just one of names but of strategy. As Mark Treasure and David Arditti (the most eloquent amongst many others) have pointed out, what people want is a network of safe routes that can take them between A and B efficiently.

So Will Norman, who understands that the value of the brand rests on its ability to deliver what it promises, needs thoroughly to redraft the Cycling Strategy concentrating on creating a network of safe, direct routes. With this new focus, the present oxymorons can be dropped, and a new name for the network be introduced.

My suggestion: the Active London Network.

Images: CSH by Hackney Cyclist; Q2 by Gosia

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