14 August 2009

What cycling press releases are really saying

These days, a lot of 'news stories' you read in the press or online are in fact press releases, reproduced almost verbatim, and subject to no criticism or analysis.

So here's a quick reader's guide to what press releases about cycling facilities say, and what they actually mean:

"A glittering example of a cycle path"
It's full of broken glass

"Reflects the increased number of cyclists using this route"
There's a massive puddle across it

"Cycling is a quick and cheap way to get around London..."
And we certainly don't intend to spend any time or money on it

"...it's environmentally friendly..."
Many cycle lanes also serve as recycling skips...

"...and it can keep you in trim too"
...and they're only wide enough for thin people

"This stunning new facility"
There's a road sign in the middle of it you crack your head on

"We believe this new route will appeal especially to first-time cyclists"
Nobody's going to use it twice

"This cycle lane adds a new transport option for commuters"
Taxis and TfL cabs use it to pick up fares

"We intend to make London a world-class cycling city..."
Once we've moved it to the Netherlands

"...through ambitious but achievable targets"
OK, move it to Cambridge, then

"In February 2008, the Mayor announced a new programme to build on these successes, aimed at achieving a growth in cycling of 400 percent by 2025."

"London's twelve Cycle Superhighways are a key part of our policy to stimulate a cycling revolution in the capital"


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