Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ban Car Adverts?

LCC's Tom wants to restrict car advertising.

I really hate advertising. Not just car advertising. It would be OK if adverts just told people about stuff they needed, or sold stuff on its merits. But advertising is largely about generating a desire for things that people didn't know they wanted, associating brands with sex, making people feel inadequate if they don't consume until they have racked up the Greek national debt. You need soft-close doors in your kitchen. You need 5 blades in your razor. No, make that 6. You have no friends unless you have a Vodafone mobile contract and drink Carling lager. You're too fat (must be all that lager you drink). Smoking's cool. Your phone's an embarrassment. You need a horse on your shirt, some blokes name on your pants. And you need another credit card to pay it off. Advertising works by making people unhappy and selling them something to make them happy, till they've got no money left. And then they're really unhappy.

But cycling is just as guilty of this consume-for-the-sake-of-it attitude as any other sector. You've got to have the right clothes, the right bike, the right name on your frame, the right wheels, the right groupset. 9-speed, 10-speed, 11-speed, it's like razors. Make sure you only have 2 chainrings though. Unidirectional carbon fibre. Electronic gear shifters. You don't need it! It's a fucking bike, for chrissake!

It's not car advertising that stops people riding bikes. It's crap cycling infrastructure. 

If you advertise cycling, it'll be like chocolate fountains and all the other stuff cluttering up Britain's garages. People'll try it once and realize it's crap. You need cycle lanes first, safe ones that go places people want to go.

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