Masses of kids cycling – what’s not to like?
Bring your wheels, wear bright colours and a smile!
That’s the message on the webpage for Kidical Mass North. Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager in Scotland was so impressed when he went along to the Inverness Kidical Mass ride in March that we used his footage in our film for Thursday’s council elections in Scotland.
Space for the next generation
But Kidical Mass isn’t just an Inverness or Scotland thing. It’s a worldwide movement with the motto ‘space for the next generation’, which aims to show that children should be able to ride in safety, and encourages everyone to take short journeys by cycling, walking or wheeling, rather than taking the car.
And what’s more, Kidical Mass could be coming to a place near you soon!
Kidical Mass near you
Over the weekend of 14 and 15 May, Kidical Mass rides will be taking place across Europe, as families demand child and cycle friendly towns and cities.
The Inverness ride is back on the Saturday, with an Edinburgh ride the following day. We’ve also created a Masses of kids cycling – what’s not to like? events page with details of nine Kidical Mass rides across England which we know about. They're in Derby, Bristol, Newcastle, Bath, Exeter, London, Reading, North Tyneside and Leamington Spa.
If there isn’t a ride near you, it’s possible new events will be added and promoted on the Kidical Mass Facebook page, which includes links to the list of rides and a helpful guide on how to organise a Kidical Mass ride
Not just for kids
Kidical Mass rides are designed to be inclusive for all ages and abilities, and highlight the need for safe separated routes for young and old alike. Whilst there’s a huge fun element to them, there’s also a serious message.
Through our election campaigns, Cycling UK encouraged people to ask the candidates seeking their vote in this week’s elections to support our manifestos for cycling in each nation, and to step up, be bold, and deliver the cycle lanes and safe active travel infrastructure needed.
We’ll have a map on our election page next week showing where candidates who pledged to support cycling have been elected, but there can’t be many better ways to show a newly elected councillor, whether they pledged or not, why safe infrastructure for cycling matters, than to take them along to a fun, vibrant, inclusive and engaging community Kidical Mass ride – showing them what’s possible.
Painting a picture for politicians
When you’re trying to explain why something’s important, and make a serious point, it’s easy to forget that pictures paint a thousand words. That’s why just turning up and taking part in a Kidical Mass ride sends a clear message, and really helps.
It’s a visual event, and politicians see that people are engaged and want safer streets, and it’s difficult for politicians to argue against or be negative about families and children enjoying a bike ride in a safe environment.
So, whether you think of yourself as a campaigner or not, if there’s a Kidical Mass ride near you next weekend, why not go along, enjoy the ride, and just by your presence you’ll help support the message that safe cycling infrastructure matters.
And if you’re up for it, you can always invite your local councillor along as well. My colleague Gwenda Owen wrote a guide for our election campaign on taking your candidates for a cycle ride, and how this enables them to see things from a fresh perspective, but the same principles apply to taking your elected councillor for a bike ride as well!
Getting more involved
After months of campaigning leading up to this week’s elections, it’s vital that we now carry on that engagement with councillors, but they need to see that people locally want them to get there with cycling – to make it happen.
You can help with that just by going along to a Kidical Mass ride or similar event, but if you’d like to find out more about how we could help you speak up for cycling, get in touch today to find out more about our Cycle Advocacy Network