Manchester’s cycle lanes are to be rebranded the Bee Network following a copyright dispute with a firm in London. Relish Technologies makes navigational compasses for bikes and motorbikes and also a route-finding app, all of which bear the name Beeline.
In June, Greater Manchester unveiled plans to create the largest cycling and walking network in the UK, comprising 1,000 miles of routes including 75 miles of Dutch-style segregated cycle lanes.
They were to be known as Beelines in reference to the worker bee that is one of the emblems of the city. However, Relish wrote to Chris Boardman, the region’s walking and cycling commissioner, to say they were worried about confusion.
The Beeline bike compass was launched via Kickstarter – we reported on it here – and Boardman was actually one of their backers. He didn’t anticipate a copyright issue and argued that any confusion between the cycle network and Relish’s products would only be beneficial.
Relish disagreed and the Guardian reports that the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, refused to authorise funds to buy the name.
Boardman said: “Beelines is a wonderful and catchy term and, because of that, it is in wide use around the transport world. This means we weren’t legally able to utilise the term as fully as we’d like for the other services we are busy planning.
“Consequently, we have decided to tweak our branding at this early stage. While the yellow bee motif will remain at the heart of our plans, the term ‘Beeline’, the name of the infrastructure report submitted to the GM leaders last year, won’t be used going forward.
“The network of safe cycling and walking routes that we are creating, which will now be referred to as the Bee Network, are only a part of our plans to enable people to travel without cars. To give people confidence that they will have a good experience, we need to ensure that all infrastructure, products and services carry the same unifying brand; a guarantee of quality and ease of use.”
Bee Ways, ByBee and Follow The Bee have also been registered with the Intellectual Property Office.
Councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for the environment, planning and transport, said: “The level of public interest in our scheme to transform this route for the benefit of all road users has been unprecedented and with responses continuing to pour in, we’re extending the consultation by another fortnight, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have their say.
“We’re really excited by the possibilities of this scheme and hope that it can become an exemplar project to inspire further cycleways citywide.
“But first, we want to make sure that everyone who lives locally or who uses the route has the opportunity to take a look at the proposed design and have their voice heard.”