Getting and demonstrating public support
The support of local residents and businesses could be critical in getting local decision makers to act on your proposals.
There are various ways of getting and demonstrating support. One key method is working with the media, which we have a separate briefing for.
This guide outlines a few suggestions for how to generate public support for your campaign. However, do not restrict yourself to this list. Be creative! And share any ideas you have with us.
Key to achieving popular support is being able to communicate in a way that people understand and can relate to.
Use language that demonstrates the wider benefits of cycling. For example, try describing your vision as “people-friendly” rather than “cycle-friendly”.
Demonstrate how "people friendly" spaces can be achieved through cycling. For example, by reduced congestion and pollution and safer streets for children and the elderly.
Do not use jargon! The words "modal share" do not set the pulse racing!
Create or join a group
The most obvious way to show public support is to be a part of a local campaigning group. There may already be one in your area that you can join. Have a look on this Cycling UK map, this campaign group map or on the list of Cyclescape groups. If you can't find a group by any of these methods, search on Google.
If there is not one in your area, you could create one.
Any group will take some time to build up support but even just having a website/Facebook/Twitter page is a good start and gives your campaigning a professional edge and a visible support base.
Ask other local groups for support. For example, local environmental groups, walking groups, sports groups, local businesses, schools, parents, pensioners etc. These groups can offer support in various ways. For example, they could just add their group name to a petition or allow you to use their logos on your site and letters etc. They may be able to circulate your activity around their networks. They might simply ‘Follow’ and ‘Like’ you on social media.
Map your cycle network
Create a ‘cycle network tube map’ and ask local residents and businesses to state their support of it.
This might sound technical but is very easy to do if you follow our handy guide.
These maps are a very simple and powerful way of demonstrating the quality of the existing cycle network. They can act as a useful visual prompt, highlighting to local authorities where funding should be prioritised.
Create a petition
Create a petition. You can use online petition sites like 38 Degrees or Change.org, or, if you are confident it will attract signatures, ask your local Council Democratic Services how to put one on the council website. Ask a councillor or democratic services how many names matter. Anything over 100 shows effort. Some local authorities require 500 signatures for a petition to be debated in a council meeting.
Get signatures quickly by sharing online. You can also get signatures in person with a clipboard or an iPad. Make sure you get all the relevant information - most likely a full name, address and email.
Take photos of anyone who supports Space for Cycling holding posters. Upload to your website and social media accounts using the hashtag #Space4Cycling. Get in touch for posters and other visual materials.
Raise your profile
Give out fliers advertising your group/cause/petition etc. Create slips that you put on bike handlebars or frames. Leave materials in bike shops/schools etc. Get in touch with us and we can send you useful visual materials.
Run an event, like a bike ride or demo. Get in touch with us, preferably as far in advance as possible, and we can help you with arrangements and publicity. Take photos to show how many people turn up. Invite councillors, council officers and local celebrities to the ride.
These are just a smattering of ideas – be creative! The key thing is to show that you have the backing of local residents to allay the concerns of local Councillors who may think your proposals are not vote-winners.
The backing of national organisations like Cycling UK will also give your campaign some weight – so use the name and brand – but stay within Cycling UK policy!