If someone had told me 6 months ago that I would be handing in a 36,000 strong petition to the London Mayor’s Cycling Commissioner, on a fresh December morning, surrounded by cyclists and placards, I wouldn’t have believed them. Me? Mobilise ten’s of thousands of people? Me? Run a campaign?
Here’s the story.
Over 13 days in November, six cyclists were killed on the streets of London. As a cyclist, I knew that the cycling community simply had to respond.
So I picked up the phone. I shared my ideas with Bootcampers. We met for late-night pizza and strategy planning. Coffees for petition writing. Hurried phonecalls in-between trains. Hashtags. Graphics. A petition. A unique, shocking and tragic moment in time. It was time to save our cyclists.
The Save Our Cyclists petition gathered over 36,000 signatures in just three weeks. London cycling has been in the mainstream media for a month. Cyclists are organising. We’re lying down on our streets in peaceful protest. We’re writing to the Mayor. We’re signing petitions. We’re turning up at public meetings. We’re changing the way that our politicians think.
I cannot explain to you the stomach-crunching excitement in refreshing the page to see your petition gain hundreds of signatures in a matter of moments.
I cannot explain to you what it is like to click ‘send’ on an email that is literally sending to tens of thousands of people.
I cannot explain to you the feeling of waking up on the day of the hand-in, looking back on a whirlwind month, and putting on your Bootcamp t-shirt under your cycling jacket, knowing that you couldn’t have done it without them.
You’ll have to experience it for yourself.
Rhiannon Redpath, Bootcamp Alumni (Class of 2013)
Applications for Campaign Bootcamp 2014 close at 9am on 21 December. Apply now.