NO GOING BACK - RECLAIM THE STREETS
Amidst the horrors of the coronavirus crisis we have seen massive changes to society, some that many people wish to retain. Among these, one that has been remarked on is that our streets are safer, the air is cleaner, and people are out walking and cycling more.
Yet as we prepare for a gradual release from lock-down, we’re going to begin seeing a slide back into business-as-usual and it is clear that capacity on public transport will be greatly restricted, with many people reluctant to use it anyway. Without action now, this could result in not just a return to ‘normal’ traffic, but even higher levels than before. The many pedestrians and cyclists who are currently enjoying quiet streets, will once more be forced to revert to our sedentary lifestyles, cooped up in cars or indoors, for fear of the dangerous, polluted world outside. ?
The UK Government has made a welcome announcement of £250m of emergency funding for councils in England to rapidly install cycle lanes, widen pavements and close roads to through traffic - with similar commitments being made by the Scottish and Welsh Governments. However the £2bn announced for cycling and walking in England over the next 5 years is still well short of the £6bn minimum needed to meet the Government’s targets to double cycling trips and increase walking by 2025. It also pales into insignificance beside £27 billion earmarked for England’s motorways and trunk roads over the same period.
? We are not closing roads, we are opening them up for people.
? We are not taking space, we are giving it back to people.
With the 25th anniversary of the first Reclaim the Streets action, this action is about reclaiming our streets for the good of people. This is not about limiting use of the roads, but opening them up for everyone.
We are asking people to join us for 2 days of action on 16-17 May and (safely!) reclaim streets in their local areas in the following ways:
? WEEKEND OF ACTION 16-17 MAY
We will be taking a weekend of action to highlight ⛔No Going Back ⛔ to polluted, busy, toxic, unfriendly streets.
Instead, we will help create a way forward with our actions, by reclaiming the streets and marking them safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
We will not block roads during this time when disruption is everywhere, but use our creativity to advocate our message. We are demanding that the streets stay transformed after the lockdown with cycling and walking infrastructure introduced by local governments.
? We want to be able to smell clean air instead of choking on car fumes.
? We want to be able to get to work and park safely.
? We want to hear the birds singing instead of roaring engines.
? We want more cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas.
? We want more bike parks instead of car parks.
SATURDAY 16 MAY
First day of action - we need to create images of bike-friendly streets with the words ‘NO GOING BACK’ alongside it.
We are asking that Rebels engage their creativity and produce bike stencils at home. All you need is a piece of cardboard and a pair of scissors/stanley knife. If you want to make a large stencil we’ve made a how to video for you. Here you will find the stencil pdf.
**FOR MORE STENCIL OPTIONS PLEASE SEE THE UPDATED ART PACK HERE**
Think about where you’d like to paint in new cycle facilities. Good options would be:
?️ Routes to hospitals and other routes now being used by key workers (you could also adorn your bike logo with a rainbow);
?️ Routes to parks and other open spaces that are currently being used by families to enjoy outdoor exercise;
?️ Polluted high streets where there isn’t enough space for separate cycle lanes - in which case, just use the bike stencil, to show who these streets should be for;
?️ A major road with a spare lane or two that needs to be ‘reclaimed’ for safe cycling. Check out these maps of wide roads with high potential for increased cycle use in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle or Sheffield.
Then go painting! ?️ You can use a spray can or paint and a roller.
Think about where to place your bike logos, e.g. if possible, position them under street lights, so that they can be seen at night. If you are signing a route that turns corners at junctions, make sure that any arrows you mark are obvious to cyclists as they approach.
For anyone who can’t get hold of paint and rollers before the action, all you need is some simple chalk to go out safely, on your own or with your household and celebrate the widening of roads and beauty of the space that many of us have been lucky enough to experience.
For more information please read Paint The Streets FAQ and XR Arts action design.
**This image was retweeted by Sadiq Khan on his official Twitter page. We should not underestimate the significance of our actions being promoted by the most mainstream of political figures. We need to continue to push this conversation, and action is always the best way to do so. The more action we take, the more we will legitimise its use.
We are using bikes as a symbol of the wider conversation we have to be having in this moment; how do we use the space we have in the UK for the benefit of everyone. How can we Build Back Better after this crisis is over.
? Cycling is an obvious symbol of a resilient and sustainable future. Let colourful bikes dot our city streets!
***Make sure to get pictures of your beautiful tactical urbanism to post alongside images of your bike ride on Sunday***
SUNDAY 17 MAY
Now that we marked the streets as bike and pedestrian friendly, it’s time to celebrate.? Let’s celebrate how beautiful the empty streets are, how safe we feel on our daily exercise, how the animals can be heard and seen again in the city centres.
Jump on your bike and ride the reclaimed streets.
? ACTION TIME ? Organise a bike ride with your local group.
? Ride the streets that you have painted the previous day.
? Have a meeting point that allows you to stay socially distant like the local park. Decide on the route and end point in advance.
? Arrive on time to avoid being accused of congregating
? At 2pm on Sunday 17th May proceed to ride the chosen streets with your local ride
Social Distancing Ensure everyone on the ride is maintaining the correct physical distancing measures and ask everyone to wear PPE. The TV media have asked for pictures, specifically they want pictures of people observing the correct physical distancing, they won’t use them otherwise i.e. they are not looking to attack us over social distancing issues.
I am going to regularly play a pre-recorded message on a Megaphone asking that people respect the current social distancing protocols and maintain a 2m distance.
It is also worth noting that the Alt Right Freedom Movement Group are planning a series of mass gatherings on Sunday. Do Not Engage with them, we have an opportunity to demonstrate how peaceful actions can be carried out responsibly during this coronavirus crisis.
***Make sure to get pictures of your ride and post them alongside your creative actions on the Saturday, at 9pm on all social media channels alongside the #NoGoingBack***
? How to make it fun? I hear you ask ?
Fancy dress! Is your answer
?Theme: Physically distant but socially close!
You can do this by a variety of inventive means, but what can be more fun than a giant donut? Especially as it holds more meaning to us. So, we would love to see you adorned with donuts.
? Bring music, make it loud! And let’s not forget about chanting:
? Time for those Extinction Rebellion flags to get out of the closet. Let’s be proud of who we are and show passers-by the party that we can make on the streets.
? Photos - lots and lots of photos. It’s the first time you dressed up in ages, so the opportunity for a photo opp is not to be missed!
Post all the photos to yours and your local group social media at 9pm on 17th with hashtags:
BE CAREFUL on the roads when using your stencils!
* Aim to go out early in the day to avoid busy traffic and be sure to stencil on roads you’ve assessed beforehand
* Let’s avoid blocking roads to paint on our bike stencils. Coronavirus is causing enough disruption already.
* Please be sure to remain socially distanced at all times! 2m if stationary/walking and 13m on bikes.
* We advise everyone cycling to wear facemasks!
* Be aware that you can be fined for painting/chalking on streets! Have a look at the Paint the Streets full FAQ for more on this.
It is important to keep the social distancing guidelines during all actions at this time, so please if you choose to go with someone to do the stenciling, let it be your housemate. Otherwise, we ask that you do the action alone.
Due to the limited time to prepare for this action, we are recommending groups simply do as much stenciling as possible this weekend, and leave physical interventions for future rounds of the action. Please watch this interview with the tactical urbanistas for great experienced input of how to properly plan for your tactical urbanism actions in the future.
When planning these actions, make sure to contact your local cycle campaign group beforehand for suggestions and advice. Tom Page at national charity Cycling UK ([email protected]) has a list of local campaign group contacts.