Großbritannien: Greater Manchester (2.5 million inhabitants)
Love Your BikeDeutsche Version
- Field(s) Of Action
- Level Of Action
- Project Manager / Parties Involved
- Project Term
- Public Relations And Documents
- Text As Of
- Mobility behaviour
Municipal level: town belonging to a county
Greater Manchester is a city region in North West England, with a population of 2.5 million in 10 boroughs, each with a Local Authority (Council). Through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), the Local Authorities coordinate some policy areas. The Greater Manchester Integrated Transport Authority (GMITA) provides political oversight for public transport, which is co-ordinated by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE). The buses, trains and trams services are delivered by private companies. In a 2008 referendum a majority of the conurbation voted against proposals to implement a combined package of public transport improvements and congestion charging. Levels of cycling are low, with cycles making up around 1% of daily traffic (2008 figures) and there is heavy motor vehicle traffic on the main routes going into the city.
The conurbation has some on-road cycle lanes and some off-road facilities (such as the Fallowfield Loop, a disused railway line converted into a cycle way). Provision of cycling infrastructure and attitudes towards cycling differ from borough to borough, as do operational standards (for example, enforcement levels of parking in cycling lanes and the minimum size a pothole must be for action to be taken on it).
At the time that Love Your Bike started, the Manchester Local Strategic Partnership had recently formed and was intended to attempt to bring together the public, private and voluntary sectors in the delivery of services and the formation of policy. An element of this was the Transport Thematic Partnership, which brought together, amongst others, bus operators, planners, police, campaigners, and City Councillors. Amongst the aims of this partnership were modal shift (from private car use to more sustainable modes), health promotion and reducing climate change emissions.
The 'Love Your Bike' campaign was initiated by Manchester Friend of the Earth (MfoE), an environmental campaign group working on issues relating to the environment and social justice. MFoE campaigns on issues with a local connection, and also lobbies for policy changes at the local, regional, national and international levels. MFoE works on a diverse range of issues including climate change, corporate responsibility, real food, trade justice, sustainable transport and aviation, and waste and recycling.
Love Your Bike built upon over twenty years of MFoE campaigning on sustainable transport and a community of campaigning on cycling and related issue. This community included the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign (GMCC), regional representatives of the national Cyclists Tourist Club (CTC), and the monthly Critical Mass rides.
Manchester FoE launched the 'Love Your Bike' campaign on Tuesday 21st March 2006 to promote cycling in Manchester, with the aim of promoting cycling and helping to make it an attractive, accessible and fun way to get around.
Manchester City Council invited local non-profit organisations to bid for project money from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to promote modal shift, therefore creating the opportunity for Manchester FoE to run an ambitious initiative. A successful application was followed by extensive preparation (approximately one year) in which the plans for the initial advertising campaign were discussed with the parties involved (Manchester FoE, Manchester City Council and public relations company Creative Concern).
From this discussion, the concept 'Love Your Bike' was born. We wanted to establish a positive vehicle through which to promote cycling. We felt that a relatively simple but attractive message would be an effective way to communicate over a large area with what was a relatively small amount of money in advertising terms (approx £30,000 - approximately 34.000 Euro). We had originally considered running a campaign about sustainable transport in general (therefore including buses, trains and trams alongside walking and cycling) but decided that not only would this be difficult to get across to such a large audience in a simple way with a small budget, but also that this would risk being negative, since the thing that these modes had in common were that they were not the car. 'Love Your Bike' was a positive, attractive and concise message with no 'anti-car' element. Moreover, cycling was not promoted in the city, whereas campaigns for other forms of public transport already existed. Cycling is also accessible and socially inclusive: it is relatively cheap and the opportunity to cycle is not restricted by proximity to public transport nodes.
The billboards that launched the campaign featured the 'fast lane, fat lane' image (picture 1) and the strap line 'burn calories, save cash, get there on time', highlighting three benefits of cycling: health, money and reliability. Environmental benefits were dealt with elsewhere (on the website, for example), but the billboards focused on the personal benefits of cycling. 22 billboards were placed around the city centre, positioned along roads where traffic is busy but cycling is possible. It should be noted that, whilst this was the largest campaign carried out by Manchester FoE, in the advertising business 22 billboards is not a large amount – it was for this reason that we focused them on the city centre rather than distributing them throughout the city.
We had an additional 100 adverts on the back of buses: car users stuck in traffic behind the bus would have plenty of time to read them and perhaps even see a cycle pass through the traffic. Fluorescent vests with the Love Your Bike logo (picture 2) were given out to cyclists so that they could also carry the message through the traffic. Postcards were disseminated around the city centre. Although some of these were put in cycle shops, we wanted to attract people who were not already cycling so made sure that they were also in other places such as cafes, hairdressers, shops and places where people go for lunch.
The project was launched on the morning of the 21st March 2006 with a media event attended by around 60 cyclists, and joined by Councillor Neil Swannick, who held the portfolio for sustainable development in the City Council (picture 3). This received significant media attention in local newspapers, television and radio. As the 'fat lane fast lane' image gained popularity on the Internet, international coverage was received, including the USA, Bulgaria, Chile and Portugal.
The Love Your Bike website (www.loveyourbike.org) was a central tool in the advertising campaign, and continues to be. It was designed to be fun and easy to use. It included frequently asked questions about cycling, a quiz about how much the user loves their bike, and information about cycle shops in the area including opportunities for discounts as part of the campaign. Interactive elements included a mapping tool that enabled new and current cyclists to map their route and to comment on them and share advice and experiences with others using, or considering using, this route. Those familiar with the roads of Manchester were able to designate hot spots (i.e. areas considered good for cycling) and black spots (i.e. areas considered dangerous or unattractive for cycling). Those who are reluctant to start cycling were able to fill in a questionnaire to give their reasons. These interactive features were added value: making it not only an advertising campaign but also a tool for gathering information about what needs to improve in the city in order for more people to consider cycling more often. This was important, as we wanted Love Your Bike to have potential to develop into a longer term campaign.
This first stage of the campaign won two awards: the national Friends of the Earth annual Earthmovers award in the 'Communicating Powerfully' campaign; the Green Awards for creativity in sustainability in the category 'Best Integrated Campaign under £100k'.
Since the launch, Manchester FoE has conducted a wide range of campaign activity under the Love Your Bike banner. As the campaign is ongoing, these are just a selection of examples to date:
Critical Commute / Bike Friday
This initiative started in March 2006 as Critical Commute and was relaunched as Bike Friday in June 2009 (Picture 4). It is a set of monthly rides, open to all and intended for people to cycle to work, university or college together. It is intended to both raise the profile of cycling and give people new to cycling, or returning to it, a chance to ride with others to gain experience. It is also an opportunity for people interested in cycling to meet each other, and therefore has a movement building role. From five starting points at 8am, groups ride together into the centre of the city and then go for coffee or breakfast. On many occasions, there has been a photo call for the media to highlight a particular aspect of cycling – for example in November 2009, shortly before the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, we were joined by a polar bear (a person in costume, naturally!) to highlight the importance of cycling in combatting climate change. Funding has recently been received to promote Bike Friday to local businesses and to provide training to the ride leaders. Bike Friday is coordinated in conjunction with Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign.
Pocket Guide to Cycling
This colourful leaflet was put together with Richard Armitage Transport Consultancy Ltd, with funding from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. It is a guide to cycling, aimed at people who are new to, or returning to, cycling. The photos in the leaflet were chosen to represent a wide range of ethnicities and ages and images of ultra-sporting cyclists in typical 'serious' cycling gear were avoided. As well as stocks for Manchester FoE’s campaigning, other parties have paid for versions with their logo on for their own use in promoting cycling. These include Local Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, a Bus Operator, and a provider of cycling training and are not limited to the Greater Manchester area.
Survey of Businesses
In spring 2009, we conducted a survey of businesses to find out about the percentage of their employees who cycle and their policies and support for cycling. We found that there is much work to be done to get to the stage where a significant percentage of the work force are cycling, but the survey enabled us to better understand the opportunities to work with businesses in the future.
Clean Air Now and Tour de TIF
During 2007 and 2008, the people of Greater Manchester debated poposals to introduce a package of public transport investment combined with a congestion charge (the Transport Innovation Fund, or TIF), culminating in a referendum in December 2008 in which the majority voted against the plans. Manchester FoE was a founding and active member of Clean Air Now, a coalition of groups campaigning for these proposals. As part of this coalition we organised the Tour de TIF, a 80 mile cycle ride passing through all ten of the Greater Manchester town halls.
Cyclist wearing Love Your Bike Logo
(Copyright: Graeme Sherriff) Launch of the campaign
(Copyright: Dave Coleman) Bike Friday
(Copyright: Charlie Baker)
Statement: Why is the project a "good practice example" in terms of innovation and / or sustainablity, so that it is worth to be copied by others? On to what kind of ranges of use it might be transmitted?
The approach of the Love Your Bike campaign is just one of a range of ways of promoting cycling. The most appropriate package of measures for a given region will depend on factors such as the amount of people cycling, the level of acceptance of cycling at the political level, the extent and quality of infrastructure, and the extent to which local, regional and national campaigns are already influencing behaviour.
There are some aspects which can be highlighted as good practice:
*The campaign has a positive and easy to understand message. Rather than highlight negative aspects of car-dependence, the campaign draws attention to the benefits of cycling. This is particularly important in the UK, with a media sensitive to anything that appears to be anti-car, and a population that has come to see the car as a symbol of freedom: this is likely to be the case for other countries in which car use is high.
- The organisers (Manchester FoE) have sought opportunities to work across sectors. The original funding was secured through Manchester City Council and enabled them to work with and gain from the expertise of a local public relations company. Bike Friday has been developed in conjunction with the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign and we are increasingly involving businesses in the promotion of this monthly event. More recently, the group has worked with a local transport consultancy to develop the Pocket Guide to Cycling leaflet. Manchester FoE has arguably been successful in seeking out beneficial partnerships and therefore enabling a wide range of expertese to contribute to the campaign.
- The campaign has been aimed at 'normal people', for want of a better term. As far as possible we have tried to present cycling as a normal everyday activity, and cyclists as normal people. The Pocket Guide to Cycling, for example, is aimed at people who are new to, or returning to, cycling and the Bike Friday rides are intended to give the opportunity for people to gain confidence on the area’s roads. We have avoided giving the impression that someone must 'become a cyclist', but rather communicated the idea that cycling is an activity that can be integrated into everyone’s lifestyle – for the example the press release for the January 2010 Bike Friday highlighted the fact that by cycling twice a month someone could reduce their travel to work emissions by 10%.
- We have combined awareness raising not only with information provision, but information sharing. Our website has enabled experienced and novice cyclists alike to share information about routes in Greater Manchester. As an independent group we have been able to publish information that criticises facilities in the area – a Local Authority might not have felt able to do this. As campaigners we have then been able to take this information and demand improvements: for example, in our report 'Stepping Up a Gear' in 2007.
- The Fast Lane Fat Lane image appears to have caught the imagination of other organisations. We still receive requests from campaigners wishing to use it in their material. When it was first launched it quickly gained some notority on cycling blogs and websites. This would suggest that the concept could work well in other languages and cultures. In particular, the Bike Friday idea has had some influence: arguably over London’s Cycle Fridays (introduced in 2009) and definitely in Edinburgh’s Bike Friday ride in European Mobility Week 2009.
- Amount: 30.000 BP (+-34.000 Euro)
- Municipal funds, Sponsoring, donations, Other
- Amount: 5.000 BP (+-5.700 Euro)
- Municipal funds, Sponsoring, donations, Other
In the years following the advertising campaign the project has received under 5,000 pounds worth of funding.
The project has been evaluated or an evaluation is in planning: Yes No
Kind Of Project Managing Organisation
- companies, association, society, private persons
Project Managing OrganisationManchester Friends of the Earth
Project Parties InvolvedManchester Friends of the Earth (lead organisation)
Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign
Manchester City Council
- Love Your Bike Campaign
- Bike Friday
- Manchester Friends of the Earth
- Stepping up a Gear - Report
- Pocket Guide to Cycling
Project Level / Project Managing Organisation