Originally Posted by richardmasoner
An earlier thread asked who does actual cycling and cyclist advocacy versus griping here on the A&S forum.
What are some effective methods of advocacy? What works and what doesn't work?
Can we do this in a brainstorm fashion? That is, throw the ideas out there without any criticism in the hope of generating something new. The winnowing can occur later.
1. SHOW UP at the planning meetings. Make your voice heard.
2. Be an ambassador by riding courteously and legally (please don't comment on what this might mean in this thread).
Have an open mind. Be flexible. Look for consensus. Discover solutions through dialogue. By this I mean not only with fellow cyclists but with local legislators, city planners, designers, engineers etc...
Be informed not only through what you've read but by your own experience and by listening to the experiences of others.
See more of the whole picture. Imagine the perspective of the other- including drivers, pedestrians and, particularly if you're only one kind of biker (club rider, commuter, racer etc...) make sure you're taking into account the broke guy who rides because he can't afford the bus, the elderly person who just wants a few minutes of exercise, the bike messenger... bike riders come in many varieties and have diverse needs and interests.
Be informed as to specific needs and facilities necessary for particular regions and locales. What works in suburban Florida or Arizona may not work in a crowded urban area in the Northeast.
Avoid "holier than thou" advocacy. No one likes being shamed, guilted, preached to or manipulated into supporting cycling or the rights of cyclists.
Have fun and remember that fun is a major motivator for a huge percentage of those who cycle regularly. Any activity where people look like they're having a good time draws positive attention to it. If you're not having fun as cyclist- too much cyclist road rage, too "serious", too much of an agenda, too rigid you'll turn more people off than on.
For many of us that enjoy Bike Forums in general the A & S forum is the least inspiring and often least informative. It has a negative tendency and many threads devolve into the same repetitive arguments by the same posters again and again. Not that it is devoid of an entertainment value. But it's a bit like watching cats fight. Some of the other forums in BF where cyclists talk about their rides, their tours, their commutes are far more informative and provide a healthier exchange of ideas that goes much further towards advocacy and promoting cycling and responsible ridership than much in A & S.