Last night I was discussing plans for the centre of Enfield, as part of that borough’s ‘mini-Holland’ bid, during a London Cycling Campaign seminar on designing well for walking and cycling.
The plans themselves – if they are not watered down – actually look pretty good, and we were mainly discussing the best way of facilitating cycling and walking movement without causing conflict in a high street environment.
The visualisations of the scheme, however, struck me (and others) as problematic.
Not just the garish, intrusive colour scheme, but also the type of people cycling. Very much ‘cyclists’ – a man in full sporting gear, hunched over, stomping on the pedals of his mountain bike.
If these plans are trying to be sold to the public – and indeed to convince shopkeepers that the removal of the road outside their shops is a good idea – then this is frankly a disastrous kind of person to be showing. Someone who looks like they are going somewhere else, and who won’t be stopping. And who also looks like a bit of a menace.
It would surely have made much more sense to use a different kind of person on a bike.
Or just something that has a bit of joy in it.
Enfield aren’t the only people to have got this wrong. Notable examples included TfL’s ‘bus stop bypass’ visualisations, showing someone who resembles Monkey Dust’s ‘The Cyclists’ –
And Peterborough Council’s laughable, laughable decision to use what looks like Fabian Cancellara in their visualisation of a walking and cycling route in their town centre.
I’m sure there are many other examples like this.
We were told that there was ‘limited time’ to prepare the bid, and the visualisations, but really, how much more time does it take to choose a suitable image of someone cycling? If you are thinking about doing a visualisation – please, please contact me and I will be happy to supply a photograph!