First We Ride London Public Meeting

On February 21st about 40 of us gathered at the Bike Shed for our first ever public meeting. After a quick meet and greet we got down to main agenda. Representing We Ride London were Philip, Dutch, Sarah, Charley & Mike who gave an overview of the campaign to date. 

Key points mentioned were:

  • We Ride London is an inclusive and unaffiliated social media led campaign to create a lobby group for all riders of powered two wheeled in London and beyond (many of our campaign objectives impact the nation’s transport policy, not just London)
  • We started the campaign in late November and are really grateful for the support we have from all of you, a few celebrities (Charley Boorman, Matthew Wright, Mark Richardson & Danny John Jules), MCN, MAG, Biker & Bike, Urban Rider, Davida, Hedon, The Bike Shed & the UK Motorcycle Theft Protest (UKMTP)
  • We represent all riders in London. A rider is not always a biker. A rider uses their bike to get to/from work in a purely functional way but not necessarily up for a ride on the weekend!
  • We have already gained over 1,700 followers through Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
  • We have met with members from the government, industry, trade and other lobby groups and policy makers
  • Riders are fairly independent and so as such, we are reluctant to gather in groups and may find it difficult to come to a consensus on key topics so we need to agree that we need to do something!
  • Many riders are using older, cheap scooters as the only viable way to get to work as they either can't afford public transport or their working patterns don't suit using public transport. There are still too few employers who pay a London living wage

Our core campaign objective is to lobby City Hall, TfL and national government to include motorcycles, mopeds & scooters (aka Powered Two Wheelers - PTWs) in their transport policy and to recognise them as part of the solution for reducing congestion and pollution which will encourage more riders not force more riders into cars or public transport. The five specific goals initially are:

  1. The protection of lane widths to allow safe filtering for all bikes.
  2. The universal use of bus lanes across London boroughs.
  3. Exclusion from all charging related to congestion or pollution (e.g. ULEZ)
  4. Enough free, SAFE and SECURE parking for All motorcycles.
  5. More action taken against bike theft and bike-jacking - although the UK Motorcycle Thef t Protest is leading on this

What’s next?

  1. We are meeting with the ‘All Party Parliamentary Motorcycling Group’ in March to discuss the We Ride London objectives
  2. We have met with Keith Prince (the deputy chair of the London Assembly transport committee) and we are looking forward to sitting down with the transport committee in the coming weeks to discuss our needs
  3. We will have our first awareness ride which will be on a week-day and the format is all riders welcome on any bike/moped/scooter but wear what you wear for work. e.g. if you are a security guard - wear that. if you work in an office - suit. We are aiming for March/April for the ride - keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information
  4. Keep an eye out for an Evening Standard article over the next couple of weeks

What did we discuss?

We are really pleased with how engaged everyone was on the night and how passionate everyone is for the campaign. Our key takeaways are:

  1. The campaign resonates well with all present (which resonates with what we’ve heard from others)
  2. Keeping the campaign digital only is going to restrict our reach so we need to get more visible in the physical domain which means flyers and potential advertisement - there is a potential tie up with UKMTP (one on each side of a jointly produced flyer)
  3. We should encourage ideas shared among the campaign which allows crowdsourcing of the campaign ideas
  4. We need to be clear on our campaign ideas but at the same time recognise that different people are supportive for different reasons - some due to ULEZ and some due to safety. We need to balance the goals
  5. We should get a pro forma letter created to write to your local MPs
  6. The rides need to find the balance between being noticed and potentially alienating more of London’s public
  7. There are other groups such as london Taxis that are under pressure from the likes of Uber/etc who may be more open to supporting campaigns that drive change
  8. Firms with big fleets such as couriers, food delivery should be contacted to reach the companies not just the riders
  9. We could explore crowdfunding for large campaign goals such as a bus/billboard adverts

What are our actions?

  1. Setup crowdsourcing ideas site - complete - http://www.weridelondon.com/ideas
  2. Create a downloadable and printable PDF so supporters can create flyers to take to their local businesses, retailers, clubs, etc. - target for March 5th 
  3. Get more celeb supporters - watch this space - we are already working behind the scenes
  4. Publish the pro forma letter for MPs - March 5th 
  5. Keep the 5 goals as they are for now
  6. Setup the London awareness rides - March/April - keep an eye on Facebook and the weather
  7. Keep supporting through social media - tell all your family and friends 
  8. Call to arms - if you have skills and a network to assist with the goals please let us know
  9. Setup another meeting - date in April - TBC

Keep supporting the campaign and spreading the word! 

#WeRideLondon

Mike Butler