Earlier this week, the AA launched the Cyclist’s Highway Code. British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman welcomed the publication saying it should encourage new cyclists and help parents get children into cycling – but others have been less impressed.
BikeBiz executive editor Carlton Reid provided the foreword for the book and yesterday found himself fielding a number of questions on Twitter. A large proportion centred on whether the Automobile Association has any place producing books about cycling.
Reid believes that overall cycling will benefit from the AA’s reach and reputation and he was also keen to highlight the cycling credentials of the AA president, Edmund King.
“The AA is a trusted brand, with motorists and non-motorists alike. Its publishing arm already publishes cycling guidebooks, and has done since the 1990s. Edmund King, the organisation’s president, dots around London on a Brompton and rides a Whyte MTB at the weekend. And with four million members it has a huge reach. Cycling organisations are tiny in comparison.”
He also defended the publication’s content which he says hasn’t been written in the assumption that cyclists are more likely to be law-breakers.
“The AA promoting cycling is a positive. And the AA Cyclist’s Highway Code is promoting cycling. It’s got lots of “how to” beginner stuff in it as well as basic maintenance tips, and many pages of Bikeability information. The book isn’t “victim blaming” or singling out cyclists as law-breakers. Those who actually go take a look at it will see it’s pushing cycling for both transport and leisure. And that’s why I got involved.”
Launching the book earlier this week, King was keen to emphasise that cyclists and drivers are often the same people and said that he hoped it would encourage more people to take up cycling.
“As a keen cyclist and father of three cycling children, I would urge you to check out this book. Today more than one fifth of AA members regularly cycle and this guide will encourage a new generation to join them.”