Cycling always needs its political champions so, in the run-up to the UK general election in 2015, we and thousands of our supporters quizzed more than 3,000 prospective parliamentary candidates on five cycling themes:
- Ambition for growth
- Road safety
- Positive promotion
Thanks to our online Vote Bike tool, constituents could not only see if and how their candidates responded, but also contact them to show how important a pro-cycling stance was to them.
The campaign helped us and our supporters identify allies in Parliament, amounting to around 114 out of the 650 newly elected MPs, including the then Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Vote Bike re-activated the year afterwards in 2016 for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly elections.
In fact, Vote Bike expanded further that year, encompassing the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections in England and Wales too, asking candidates to support roads policing, reverse the decline in traffic officer numbers and treat road crime as real crime. (When PCCs were up for election again in 2021, we backed Action Vision Zero’s manifesto).
In 2017, Vote Bike headed out again, this time targeting local council and ‘Metro Mayor’ elections. In Greater Manchester, for instance, we and the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign called on mayoral candidates to:
- Provide more space for cycling
- Develop a dedicated budget for cycling and walking
- Work towards a highways network with zero road traffic fatalities or serious injuries
We also filmed Cycling UK’s president, the broadcaster Jon Snow, interviewing candidates Sean Anstee (Con) and Andy Burnham (Lab – elected); and captured Jane Brophy (Lib Dem) talking about cycling on video too.
Building on the Vote Bike experience, Cycling UK mounted similar campaigns in subsequent national and local elections, often collaborating closely with campaigners on the ground over tailored manifestos.