Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Who actually reads this blog? Does it matter?

Ever since I've started writing this blog I've always been interested in who reads it. Obviously I can look at the Google statistics and see that it certainly gets hits. In fact I am surprised by how many hits it gets. I've had a lot extra hits over the last couple of days! Normally though, it's probably people who actually like what I write, or people who enjoy laughing at my incompetence. The statistics don't tell which they are.

The statistics also don't tell me who is reading my blog and what their background is. I have my suspicions though. I suspect that the majority of my audience are cyclists. No great shockers there. I also suspect that the majority of my audience share similar views to me, with regards to the need for funding in cycling and that that roads need to be designed for all and not just for those who chose to use them in a car.

Why do I want to know?

It's important to know your audience so that you can write in such a way that interests them. I'd soon loose hits if I started writing about the effects of different rubber compounds on the rolling resistance of 700C road bike tyres. It would be related to cycling, but, I suspect, not of great interest to my current audience.

To be fair though I've never been someone who worried too much about my audience (I never used to have one) as I just enjoy writing about a subject that I feel passionate about. However, it really does matter. It matters because....and this is again just a suspicion....that I am only preaching to the converted.  The majority of my audience will almost always digitally nod in agreement. We will reach a consensus among ourselves.

Blogging is powerful, however talking about a niche subject, and unfortunately cycle safety is a niche subject, the message rarely extends beyond the niche. If we truly believe in making cycling safe not just for a small band of passionate people, but for everyone, cycling has to matter to everyone. It needs to become something that we all debate and discuss. Cyclists and non cyclists.

I've already made my views clear on the suggestions that there is a war raging on Britain's roads. I just don't buy it. Many others have also made it clear that they are expecting the worst from the documentary on Wednesday night. It is likely to be far from perfect. However, this programme will do what none of our blogs or tweets can do. It will take the debate on cycle safety and road safety in general well beyond the cycle safety niche. On Thursday morning everyone, whether they cycle or not will have an opinion. Yes, there will be some extreme views on both sides, but at least the debate will have widened.

I and my fellow campaigners at Pedal on Parliament will be doing our best to spread the message that our war should not be with other road users, but with the very design of the roads themselves.


  1. I do!

    Cyclist, concerned wit safety and bike advocacy.


  2. I read your blog. I'm a cyclist who commutes to and from work, who realises that drivers constantly put my life at risk, all for being delayed by seconds. But that is the norm in today's society, everyone, sorry 95% of the population is on concerned with their path, road, light, existence. We live in an extremely selfish world. And it's getting worse.

  3. Me!

    Recent convert to cycling with the opening of segregated cycle tracks in Glasgow. Would not have dreamed of cycling for transport until that happened.

    I agree with you on the need for proper funding for cycling. My wish is for Scotland-wide cycling infrastructure implemented to Dutch best practice. Dare to dream!

    I don't agree that people "choose" to drive everywhere. They do it because it's overwhelmingly the most convenient (and sometimes the *only*) option. That hasn't been a "choice" on the part of the public - the streets have been specifically (re)designed to make it that way. Time for that to change.

  4. This issue has long needed a wider audience audience. A bit of sensationalism can't kill the continuing conversation.

  5. Me too!
    A cyclist who has ridden to work most days for the last 25 years...

    Why? cos I enjoyed your posts on CycleChat and was saddened when the atmosphere there towards you decayed.

    I agree with you about the "war" - there is no "war", just bad drivers as well as bad cyclists.

    As far as cycling infrastructure is concerned it is shocking that, in both our countries (I am English lol) the attitdue towards bikes is roughly "oh well if they insist on riding we better do something... what do you mean they ride faster than 6 mph?"

  6. I was going to simply put "I do, HTH" but looks like I was beaten to it.

    I'm a cyclist who used to commute to work 6 miles when I had it easy - down a shared path and then onto the Thames towpath (I'll ignore the single lane bridge because I used the traffic lights to my advantage - getting to the front of the queue and spinning madly to get to the bridge before a car attempted an overtake - the immediate RH turn after the bridge onto the cycle path was a bit hairy)

    I didn't realise how good I had it - mostly traffic free and mostly flat.

    I moved 4/5 years ago but didn't get back on the bike until this year, inspired by PopScotland and managed to commute to work for the first time at new job in April (I'll not lie, the big hill in the way was not helping).

    The near constant near misses on the main road are worse than the big hill, but I won't be put off.

    Sadly, my kids are put off and won't go near the roads on a bike. And I don't blame then.

  7. I didn't think the documentary was that bad.

    You came across as reasonable and affable - A "face of cycling" I can live with.

  8. Just recently started reading.

    Back on bike recently for commute in Glasgow and doing some web research after some hairy incidents. None quite as hairy as yours in the doc tonight though! THought you came across as very reasonable, shame they didn't include much about infrastructure that you've spoken about on here.

    Enjoying the blog, thanks!

  9. Dave,

    I read your blog, why? You have experiences to share which as a fellow cyclist I can relate to. You are also committing a lot of time and effort to improve conditions for all of us cyclists and, in a way all road users, and that deserves our support.

    See you at POP2!