We're talking about the local "joint project" - GetAbout - their stated aim is to create a "better transport system... in Aberdeen City and Shire."
News reaches us that GetAbout are floating the idea of a bike-sharing scheme for Aberdeen, similar to London's so-called 'Boris Bikes', or "Boris's Bikes" as GetAbout would have it. Well, of course we were worried. But then, on closer reading, we realised the subtlety of what was really going on here. From the GetAbout web-page:
Is Aberdeen ready for a scheme like Boris's?(Our emphasis)
What do you think? ... Perhaps you think it's just not safe to cycle, or as a driver you are worried by cyclists. Maybe Boris's Bikes sound great for use on old railway lines and in the parks, or may be they sound an ideal way to get around town. Would your staff use them for business trips or to get to work from the Union Square Transport interchange?
It's subtle and very clever. What appears on the surface to be a pro-cycling bit of quango-work is actually framed very carefully in an anti-cycling context with anti-cycling language and imagery. We therefore congratulate GetAbout, for spending their greenwash budget on an intitiative which drives home the usual messages:
- that cycling is not safe;
- that cyclists worry drivers. Indeed, for the menace cyclists might scratch our nice cars as we roar past them, or - when we run into them after they've "just come out of no-where" - they jeopardise our no-claims bonuses. And we already pay quite enough for car insurance, thank-you very much;
- and that cycling is not really a mode of transport at all, it's fine for the old railway line or in the park and that's about it.
We think its brilliant that GetAbout have managed to propagate this pro-motorcar message while spending their budget appearing to promote cycling and maintaining plausible deniability.
In their press release they asked:
Is Aberdeen ready for a scheme like Boris's?By framing their question the way they have, they have helped ensure that, in Aberdeen "City and Shire" the answer to that question will remain for the forseeable futue a resounding "NO!" and have helped to keep the dangerous menace of cycling off our roads. We congratulate GetAbout for their kung-fu skills. Brilliant!