It’s Northern Ireland Assembly Election year and with transport being a devolved matter, Bikefast is all over the political parties like a desperately itchy skin condition. How in-depth is Bikefast’s coverage of the election going to be? We’re prepared to lower ourselves to a frame-by-frame analysis of all party political broadcasts to glean any sign of support for the bicycle.
First up is a slick and shiny effort from the Alliance Party, voiced over by the Ginger Ninja herself Naomi Long (East Belfast, other candidates are available).
If Bikefast were truly at war with the motorist (ahem) we’d be hopping mad at the sheer volume of vehicle traffic which Alliance appears to be planning to unleash on the population of Northern Ireland. You can almost feel your chest filling up with fumes looking at the whooshing motorways and cars travelling at around 500mph through Belfast’s city centre’s 20mph zone. Some have suggested that fancy time-lapse techniques were used in the film, but we’re seeking clarification on that from Alliance HQ.
But what have we learned about Alliance and the bicycle from the video? The good news is there are signs of two-wheeled life in Alliance’s vision of the future. Belfast Bikes are featured outside Belfast City Hall, a fantastic success and available 365 days a year, not just on designated days.
Belfast’s Copenhagen-style separate cycle track on Victoria Street has never looked this good, and being featured in the broadcast surely signals an Alliance commitment to rolling this out everywhere. Although maybe with bollard protection this time..
Finally, outside QUB we have a bicyclist waiting for the 500mph traffic to subside. While not advocating for hi-viz for cycling, the semi-translucent approach by this rider is a definite no-no on Belfast streets.
So what have we learned, apart from we have too much time on our hands and a troubling obsession with bicycles? Not much – the proof on cycling will be in the Alliance manifesto and will be judged against this (quite simple and populist) two-point priority list.