Two wheels are better than four

13th March 2006
news
release

Commuters into Manchester city centre will be urged to ditch four wheels in favour of two later this month when Manchester Friends of the Earth [1] launches its biggest ever campaign, in conjunction with Manchester City Council.

Timed to coincide with the start of British Summer Time, the campaign officially launches on Tuesday, March 21, in the city centre, when hordes of commuters will be cycling into Manchester en masse for the unveiling of a high-impact outdoor advertising campaign, which urges commuters to ‘Love Your Bike’. 22 billboards, located strategically on key bus routes into the city centre, will work in synergy with 100 back-of-bus advertisements to drive home the powerful message that cycling is better for your health, better for your wallet and better for getting you to work on time.

The objective of the campaign, which is part-funded by Manchester Transport Thematic Partnership [2], is to reduce the number of car journeys into Manchester city centre during peak commuter times by reaching people who currently drive to work. The advertisements are designed to raise awareness of cycling as a practical, enjoyable, healthy and cost effective alternative to driving.

The outdoor advertising campaign is just one aspect of this far-reaching initiative. Posters and postcards will be distributed via shops across Manchester and a newly designed website at www.loveyourbike.org will provide would-be cyclists with information on cycle routes, safety and maintenance, along with many other helpful cycling hints. Cyclists will also qualify for discounts at cycling shops across Manchester.

But it’s not just commuters that are being targeted. Manchester Friends of the Earth is also working directly with local employers to promote cycling in the workplace. For example, employers are being encouraged to provide secure cycle parking, changing rooms and tax-saving cycle purchase schemes.

Graeme Sherriff, campaigner with Manchester Friends of the Earth, says: “For many people, the journey to work can be one of the easiest to transfer to a bicycle and this campaign is a fantastic opportunity for us to convince people of that. Cycling to work isn’t just for die-hard environmentalists and seasoned cyclists – it is a low cost commuting option and an excellent opportunity for anyone to fit exercise into their daily life, increase their fitness levels and improve their overall health. Plus, as congestion isn’t a problem for cyclists, more often than not, cycling to work is quicker than driving.”

Neil Swannick, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Planning and Environment, says: “We’re delighted to be working with Manchester Friends of the Earth in what promises to be an exciting and compelling campaign. Car ownership continues to grow nationally and within Greater Manchester and we recognise that steps need to be taken to tackle the volume of traffic on our roads. By showing people that there is a convenient alternative to sitting in a slow-moving traffic jam every morning, we hope to make them think about getting their bikes out – at least once in a while – if not daily.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent campaigns group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on its website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).

[2] The Transport Thematic Partnership is part of the Manchester Local Strategic Partnership. It is working to improve Manchester’s local transport system and allocates Government Neighbourhood Renewal funding to projects which contribute to its objectives of obtaining sustainable communities.