Talk by Koy Thompson, LCC Director
Came to the CCC October members meeting
Koy Thompson, the new director of LCC, introduced himself and told us a bit about his background.
• He emphasized that what he found most striking about LCC was the energy and expertise of its members, and that he saw it as his role to promote this culture, not to develop a corporate “top-down” approach.
• Accordingly, LCC needs to help resource and train its members and promote sharing of expertise.
• Cycling has huge potential to transform the urban environment and make our city more liveable.
• LCC is currently finishing off its five-year strategy review.
• Cyril asked Koy whether he had any specific issues which he wanted to push ahead on. Koy replied that he didn’t want to come down on one side or another of the familiar debates (segregation etc), but rather was keen to recognize the variety of cycling constituencies within London – what might be right for Hackney might not be appropriate for Richmond.
• Jean reported on her participation in the LCC Strategy workshop last month, where various possible campaigning issues were discussed, such as changing liability rules for collisions and 20 mph speed limits.
• Koy elaborated as to how he saw LCC supporting local groups; he didn’t want to see head office co-ordinators, but was happy for borough groups to raise funds and employ staff themselves (as in Southwark). It would good to revive the previous practice of local groups training sessions.
• Mayer urged that LCC should make climate change, and in particular carbon rationing, its priority.
• Koy’s reply was at somewhat of a tangent: he noted that part of the success of climate change campaigning has been down to its use of snappy phrases, such as carbon footprint and food miles, and that what we as cycling campaigners needed was something similar, a metaphor to convey the benefits of cycling. [Perhaps ‘bicycle bounce’?]
• In response to another question, Koy argued that LCC needed to be more political, and noted that it had not put in a submission to the recent congestion charge consultation, which many of us in the room found surprising. But with this, the organization needed to have a clear mandate from its members – what is the campaigning issue which they want it to take on.
• Stefano pointed out that LCC needed to blow its own trumpet more; LCC head office and members did a huge amount of work for the recent Freewheel but its name was nowhere apparent on any of the publicity. Koy agreed, but pointed out that LCC had been going through a change of directors at the time of the Freewheel planning and that this hadn’t helped.
• Paul mentioned two other issues, the legal enforceability of ASLs and getting motorcyclists out of bus lanes. Koy related these to last year’s ‘Share the road’ campaign, which he revealed had turned out to be a bit of a con: the anti-cyclist bit had gone ahead, but the anti-motorist component was quietly dropped. LCC needed to be cannier about such sort of scheme in the future.
• The meeting then ended, and Koy thanked for his stimulating and at times revealing talk.