Sharing the Road report 2017 by Halfords
In a previous Thursday thoughts post, (found here) I talked about the likelihood that high profile court cases, dockless bike share, and electric bikes would lead to legislation regarding the registration of bicycles. Well thanks to Halfords, this prediction is one step closer to a reality. Read the report.
This week Halfords published their Sharing the road 2017 survey. The document shares statistics about how the UK feels regarding cycling safety and road use from the point of view of drivers and cyclists. Results such as 59% of respondents were in favor of number plates for cyclists and 65% agree that cyclists should be required to wear reflective clothing. Required, as in no choice. They also reported that 26% of people say cyclists should be checked on their knowledge of the highway code. Some of the data found in this document seems a little biased.
Not everything in this 20-page infographic-laden, consumerist propaganda is bad, it has proved that almost half of the general population (48%) can change a puncture with no problems. A fact that I can not deny is likely what the questioned people think they are capable of. A fact that, if put to the test would perhaps reveal a very different set of statistics. In my view, there isn’t anything wrong with taking some statistics and learning what your customers think. This can be a great way to focus your efforts on the right strategy to better serve and grow. The issue here is that the document has been published in a manner which makes its biassed views seem like an official document. “SHARING THE ROAD REPORT 2017” screams the blood red title which precipitates the horror show to follow.
This document has published their findings based on a whopping 0.00003% of the population (2400 of 65.1 million) having their say in a (most likely) online poll. Considering that the retail giant has 460 stores across the UK and ROI, I cannot see any reason that a small poll of Londoners should be able to speak for the masses. Image the potential outcomes from publishing a document like this. Halfords may unintentionally sway the views of a politician who pushes through legislation regarding cycling in your area. Oops, now you have to take your bike for a yearly MOT with mechanics who receive only entry-level mechanical training at best. Apologies to the good Halfords mechanics out there, I know you exist, and I did, in fact, work there myself. However, since they no longer offer industry standard Cytech training in favor of an in-house system, it is hard to trust the quality of that badge.
Known by people at the pointy end of the cycling industry as Hal-FRAUDS this business has managed to parade itself by sheer numbers into the forefront of highstreet cycling stores. Using a veil of professionalism and unwitting consumer trust they distribute what is known as the BSO (bike shaped object) in mass numbers. These have all the features of a good bike such as disk brakes and suspension, but neither the brakes nor the suspension offer any benefits to the rider when they barely function. Techniques such as raising the price of a bike 200% (in selected stores) to then offer a 50% off deal is tantamount to robbery as unknowing consumers ride away on a bike worth half the value they thought. On every visit to a store, I treat myself to a game of spot the assembly fault and have no problem finding a slew of mistakes. No self-respecting bicycle mechanic would dream of coming to work the next day if they fitted forks backward, handlebars upside down, or with loose stem bolts.
The issue with publishing management-friendly reports like this is that, in trying to publicize their products in a sneaky (Non-sales based) infographic. Halfords have managed to shake the hornet’s nest, poke the sleeping bear and simultaneously beep at the cyclist for being a road user. Unintentionally fueling the fire of political correctness that will end with us all wearing inflatable airbags on our heads when popping down the shops.
This is not a paid blog post by the way, just in case you were wondering. 😉