Health In All Policies Public Health

Motherload – creating a cycling culture


I was invited by @heasonevents to see Motherload in November. This was part of the monthly cycle to the cinema event series –


Motherload itself is a fabulous story – both inspiring and uplifting of how one mum (and lots of others) are changing the way they think about transport for them and their families. Its long, but if u have a spare 90 mins you could do worse. There is a lot in there on culture and a lot on engineering.

I did think the film DOES need to be seen by an audience beyond that who were there  (ie committed cyclists…. but always easier said than done!)

There was a short Q&A after the event – thanks to @RichardShawld, @cyclesheffield, @douglasjsheff, @cwa_sheffield

the ideas that came up were interesting and useful. Well I thought so at any rate!

for completeness  – those ideas were:

  1.     Our fleet to invest in cargo bikes not cars. E bikes if needed (I heard there are some hills, let’s not that be an excuse!)


  1. Parking wardens on e bikes. Other staff on e bikes. See the world from cyclist perspective


  1. Address the largely cultural stuff re doing short trips on bikes or walking.

30% of all trips in South Yorkshire are less than 500m. A third!

Its not about needing to force a change in culture or behaviour – I think the culture (of just getting in the car) arises because we’ve built an environment where it’s much easier and more pleasant to get in the car – we now need to make it much easier and more pleasant to just walk down the road (or hop on your bike). This  is where the healthy streets and neighbourhoods stuff comes in – ie community, as well as commuter. Will have a bigger impact on inequalities in the city too


  1. Infrastructure, and the right standards for this.

Unsurprisingly most of the conversation focused on infrastructure.

We KNOW the supply led demand hypothesis is in play with regard to roads / cars. Some seem to doubt the same is in play for cycle infrastructure/ bikes.

All of the evidence says it is key. See this story from Paris – cycling up 50%

Building high quality infrastructure into all developments. Not just cycling, also include walking. On this, make sure you contribute to the SCR map….. leading to specific scheme design as part of a funding proposal

On infrastructure there is no doubt there is alot more every city can do, however on this it is worth noting recent changes in local govt funding. The critical picture is here.


So whilst investment is needed, funding for local government to make such investments is “somewhat difficult”. Furthermore funding broadly for active travel has a very low starting point

We very much underinvest in  active travel compared to other modes and our ROI methods completely work against infrastructure and revenue investment in active travel. To the benefit of cars and stuff

Transport planners get consistent grief …. (I think it is worth being more proactive about the other side of story, constraints they work in etc). There is also a need to shift away from considering “commuting” (economy related?) as having principal weight to all forms of journey as having equal weight. Commuters (to work) are no more or less important than any other form of traveller.

  1. Enforcement.

This is tricky space for lots of reasons, in terms of the limitations of the law and our ability to enforce it


  1. Bike to Work scheme – kit to start up. Some said


  1. Manufacturing cargo bikes and making a market led answer 


  1. More events, mass participation events. Community led and organised, SCC facilitated


9  calling out and reporting sexist based abuse of female cyclists.

I heard it was an issue. That did surprise me

Report it to the police.

It’s simply not acceptable.


  1. Bikes on busses and trams.

Many making helpful suggestions around more emphasis on bikes on busses and trams. I’d be sure “health and safety” is used as reason for why we cant, it may be also about space


There was a healthy discussion on whether we wait till it is all aligned and perfect plan before we really push on it … or just get on with pushing toward the tipping point in lots of different forms and styles

the links

link to the film:

Cycle Without Age.

Recycle Bikes Cargo Bike Hire:


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