Ingenie, the insurance company specialising in cover for young drivers that was widely criticised this week for its #ShareTheRoadUK initiative that called, among other things, for cyclists to have to undertake training and testing before being allowed to ride their bike on the road, appears to have removed the campaign from its website.
The link to the campaign on the company's website, included in our story yesterday, now goes to an error page that says "We couldn't find the page you were looking for." The website does still show a page of safety tips for cyclists.
We have asked Ingenie's PR advisors for clarification of why the campaign seems to been pulled from the website, but if that has been done in response to the backlash to the initiative, it again underlines the power of social media, coming in a week when motoring magazine Auto Express removed a story from its own site claiming that three in four cyclists broke "road rules."
Cycling website BikeRadar, which originally endorsed the Ingenie campaign only to remove its story and withdraw its support, albeit the following day; by that time, news of its initial backing of the initiative had spread and the original piece had received a number of negative comments.
In a susbsequent article, it claimed it had done so because it had not been aware of Ingenie's call for compulsory testing, a move BikeRadar says it does not support.
Meawhile, the Wikipedia page of Future plc, which owns BikeRadar, has been changed to include a reference to the episode, although in a much condensed version of an account of the controversy that originally appeared yesterday, once more reinforcing that in this age of the connected consumer, PR is no longer a one-way process and reputations that take time to build up can quickly be damaged.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.