20 June 2013

We don't need no education...

Hey everyone, sorry about the rant yesterday. But we do have a right to be angry. Really Angry. CAPS, refreshed or not,  is a useless document - focussed on campaigning rather than actually changing the environment. throwing good money after bad.  

Just like breastfeeding campaigns or HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns in South Africa, increasing 'awareness' and 'education' isn't going to change behaviour, except perhaps incrementally.  There's lots of academic evidence to back this up.  People know that 'breast is best' for babies, but unless the environment enables them to breastfeed, they won't.

Everyone knows how you get AIDS, but that doesn't give young girls the power to resist powerful older men who want to have unprotected sex does it?  Nor women who risk losing their families if they insist their husbands wear condoms, despite knowing full well that he's been sleeping around.  

Would you risk losing your home, access to your children, and maybe even your income under those circumstances?  HIV/AIDS isn't spread because people don't know what causes it, but because they are powerless to change their relationships - they don't have a choice, not a real one. 

Does it seem a long way from talking about public campaigns to give kids 'cycle-space' or 'respect' between road-users?  I don't think it is.  

People don't cycle because they don't feel like they have a real choice. 

Even if they 'know' that cycling is better for them and their families, they do not feel safe doing it. It is not an 'option'.  Our  neighbours who look wistfully at us as we load up our kids and say 'I wish I could do that'.  They obviously see in practical, real terms that it is possible to do it, but they do not feel 'brave' enough to make that step.  More information is not going to make that choice any easier for them, just as more billboards about condoms don't make choices any easier for vulnerable mums whose partners aren't faithful. 

What's even more upsetting is that every single 'stakeholder' who contributed to the CAPS refresh knows full well that it is not going to get us anywhere near the target/vision of 10% of journeys being made by bike. 

The 'refresh'  document itself actually acknowledges that "Published evidence from around Europe suggests that investment in the order of £5-10 per head per annum could be needed to grow modal share year on year from its current low base in Scotland to the level in CAPS " .  And the reason that more money is needed, is because that's how you change the environment. 

The Scottish government is wilfully refusing to follow its own research and evidence and instead spinning a fairy tale that with more 'public education' things will change.  But we don't need education. We need political leadership.  


Pristine said...


I've recently stumbled upon your blog and twitter account. I'm moving to Edinburgh at the end of next month from Texas and wanted to cycle instead of driving when possible.

Can you recommend where to find information on rules of the road for cycling in Scotland? And any other advice give/refer would be appreciated.


Sara Dorman said...

Hi there! Welcome! I'd recommend you visit two key website: CCE http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/ and Spokes http://www.spokes.org.uk/wordpress/

I've posted the text of your message to CCE. If you follow this link, I'm sure you'll find some helpful answers: http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=10580&replies=1#post-115931

Dc03 said...

Hi Prinstine,

Come on over to CCE via Sara's link. We're very friendly and have loads of advice on cycling in and around Edinburgh.

Dave C