Barclays Bank has announced that it will end its association with the Cycle Hire scheme in London in 2015.
The bank has denied that its decision has been based on the increasing bad publicity surrounding cycling in the capital. But with Boris’s Cycle Superhighway routes sharing – co-incidentally – a similar blue colour as the bank’s insignia, there has been speculation that Barclays is seeking to avoid any association with further cycling fatalities on those routes.
If such speculation contains any truth, then the cycling campaigners who made capital out of the recent spate of cycling deaths should be ashamed of themselves. I warned, at the time, that scaremongering about cycling would scare off cyclists – it didn’t occur to me that it would also scare off investors in cycling.
Inevitably, some muddle-headed commentators are saying they are glad to see the back of Barclays, citing, for instance, nonsensical clichés about the undesirability of bringing ‘private money into the public sphere’ – as if there were any other origin for public money. I’ve always found it strange when cyclists complain about corporate money in cycling. I once heard a woman moaning about Sky’s involvement in the sport, as if the mainstream is inherently cursed and therefore curses whatever it invests in. This bizarre view seems to imply that if the mainstream were to invest only in good causes then this would be a bad thing. An ideology which has this logical consequence is clearly ridiculous.
So it's a big sarcastic ‘well done’ from me to the cycle campaigners who disseminated apocalyptic headlines in response to a tally of deaths in London which was actually relatively low. My fellow campaigners, you have, possibly, managed to convince a mainstream investor to lapse into the majority’s spurious view that cycling is ‘too dangerous’ – and you have done this by hushing up the positive evidence about cycling, in order to further your own agenda.
With ‘friends’ like these, cycling hardly needs enemies.