Besides networking, one of the prime objectives for the European Cyclists Federation’s Velo-city series of conferences is to stimulate debate on cycling for the purpose of significantly increasing cycling traffic. Certainly so far, the reaction to the Velo-city Global 2012 cycling promotional video, has been adding to the debate on clothing, helmet use when cycling, and legislation of helmet use.
Maybe that debate will continue during the conference.
Last night I had dinner with a cycling advocate from Victoria. The conversation drifted to his thesis for his Master’s degree on communications where he looked at bike culture in Vancouver. On his move to Victoria, he started to compare his work to the culture he found in this city. The question he hypothesized was “Does clothing use for cycling create a barrier for people to switch from driving to cycling if drivers perceive that they would need to wear spandex and Lycia gear to blend in with other cyclists?” The same has been hypothesized by many about cycling helmet wear or being forced by legislation to wear helmets.
Should it not be a matter of personal choice or common sense for protecting oneself as much as one wants to within an environment where a much larger object can potentially threaten personal injury or weather elements can make cycling uncomfortable if not some form of protection is taken? The reality is that the weather will do what it wants and the best we can do is to protect from it in any way we feel comfortable with. The reality is that when on the road and in intersections, we have drivers who do not use the level of care required by society in controlling cars. The 1970’s concept of “defensive driving” has been replaced by the concept of “me first and get out of my way”.
Conformity or personal choice on what makes sense: Let us hope that the dialogue on barriers for motorists switching from driving to cycling will be continued at the Velo-city Global 2012 Conference. So, come to the conference in Vancouver to further the dialogue.