Sciennes Selfie
A glorious selfie during the Sciennes school bike bus last April. Photo Ross Crook

So you think you want to hold a Pop-up PoP but you’re not sure how to go about it? We posted some guidance last year, but here’s an updated step-by-step guide:

  1. Identify a barrier to cycling that you want to highlight. Lack of protected cycle lane? Bollard blocking bikes? Lack of routes to schools? A dangerous tramline?
  2. Consider how you might want to creatively protest that barrier. Last year we had Friday morning school cycling buses, squished tomatoes on dangerous bike lanes, human protected bike lanes, people on bikes dressed as cows, superheroes, bears and zebras (yes we did!) and a cycling chicane challenge. We’ve listed some other ideas here.

    People dressed as bears and holding bears at the Bears Way protest
    Last year’s ‘Complete the Bears Way’ protest
  3. Decide on a date and time. Our weekend of action this year runs from Friday 1st of May through to Sunday 3rd of May 2020. For best chance of press coverage ideally end your event by around noon on Sunday. This allows us to get the photos and details out to the media in time for their news conferences for Monday’s papers.
  4. Let us know! We’ll be collating all the pop-up PoPs on our site with a calendar and a map. We’ll also do an announcement about each event ,so give us as many details as you can, including what the barriers are that you’re tackling and what you’re planning. Email us on hello@pedalonparliament.org to tell us your plans.
  5. Enlist a couple of helpers. A wee team of two or three of you might make organising things easier and more fun. We had loads of solo organisers last year too though – your pop-up doesn’t have to be massive, as creativity gets as much press as large turn-out.
  6. Check out your location. We recommend that you write out a risk assessment at this stage, as it could help you run through the event in your head to make sure you’ve covered all eventualities. If you want any help with this, let us know – we have examples we can send you. We also have insurance in place for any pop-up events that we can let you know about.
  7. Start to gather supplies. If you’re going to need loads of lane markers or costumes, start gathering them early and have your helpers also do some sourcing. Or even better, get some folk together and make your costumes!
  8. Set up an online event page. You can do this via a Facebook event page (we can create a Facebook event for you if you’re not a user), or Meetup or even Eventbrite – they’re all easy to use and allow you to advertise and share your events and keep track of attendees.  Send us the link to your event page and we’ll add them all to our own pages as well.
  9. Advertise. Spread the word to everyone you know about what you’re planning to do and ask them to come along. Although stunts don’t need as many folk to make an impact as a full-blown POP, it’s still important to get as many people out as possible, and as wide a variety of people too. We’ll provide template posters and flyers that you can customise and distribute, as well as spreading the word through our own site and social media.
  10. Contact your local press. We will give you a hand with contacts and sample press releases nearer the time, but we will ask you to let the local media know you are going to be doing a pop up protest. Ask if they would send a photographer (but make sure you also get your own photos to send to POP HQ!). Compiling a draft press releases ahead of the day can help for sending it as quickly as possible after your event.
Child in superhero costume
Caped crusaders assemble in Dalkeith for the Midlothian popup in April. Photo: Laura Cockram.

On the day

Briefing. Brief everyone as they turn up and make sure it’s clear what everyone is doing, and who is in charge. Have a clear signal to start and finish. Tell them about Pedal on Parliament and the wider protest that the event is a part of. 

For something like a human bike lane, you’re aiming for around 30 people but if you only get 10, that’s ok. The lane doesn’t need to be really long to make a point, and it doesn’t have to be in place for more than 20 minutes or so  – if the local media have sent a reporter or photographer, they may be the ones who will hold you up. Get a few riders (and any passing bikes of course!) to ride the lane. Any cute kids (if their parents or guardians give permission), people dressed up, or anyone who doesn’t look like your stereotypical cyclist, should be to the fore.

Build any guerrilla bike lanes out of inflatables, soft toys, or similar things that won’t damage anyone’s car (or bike). If you’re doing a human bike lane, ask participants to remove any backpacks and leave their bikes off the road. They should stand with arms outstretched, spaced out enough that hands just touch, have one person facing in and the next facing out etc, so there are eyes both out and in. Don’t get in the way of any cars (unless they’re illegally trying to cross into a bike lane) and above all don’t obstruct any bikes!

Be aware of road safety and ask that everyone considers where they stand. Be careful also not to block the way of people on foot!

Photos. You should aim to get some good photos of the event that tell the story of what happened. As the event organiser it may be hard for you to do this as well as coordinating occurrings so it is helpful to appoint someone as official photographer ahead of the day. Make sure you’ve got access to the internet on the day to get the photos to us and out to your local media contacts. Uploading them to Flickr and sharing to our flickr group or tagging your photos #pedalonparliament2020 on Instagram are easy ways to do this (we will send you details of these). Ask contributors of photos to make it clear what the terms of use are (are they happy for the pictures to be used to promote POP?) and ask them to let you know how to give them credit. We can stick any cleared for use images straight into our press Flickr pool for that year. Here are last year’s pictures,

If you’re featuring anyone to the fore in your photographs, make sure they’re happy with it (or their parents if they’re children). Just ask – is it OK to take your photo and use it on our site? While it’s legally okay to use photographs of people at a public event, it’s polite to ask and respect their wishes if they don’t want to end up being the ‘face of PoP’.  It’s helpful to make sure you have a few photographs of people from behind, so they’re not readily identifiable.

 

The legalities. It is an offence to obstruct traffic or place anything in the road that might obstruct or endanger traffic. So if you really are ‘taking it to the streets’ make sure you’re not putting anyone (including yourselves) in danger. Choose your location carefully, with good lines of sight and slow traffic speeds. Ironically enough, parked cars at either end act as a nice safety buffer. And if the police ask you to move on, then politely do so. We found passing police to be very helpful at last years events – once you explain what you are doing they have always hung around to help!

human bike lane
The Forrest Road human cycle lane in Edinburgh last year. Photo Sandy BeachCat on Flickr

Press release. Fill in the gaps of your draft press release on the day and send it to your list of email addresses.  Be sure to also send your press release to POP HQ!

 

Have fun! Ask everyone to smile and wave – even though you’re protesting, looking like you’re having fun doing it is the best tactic. And keep the yellow hi vis to a minimum this year; we don’t want to be mistaken for gilets jaunes. Finally – don’t forget to have fun!

 

 

Everything you wanted to know about running a Pop-Up PoP but were afraid to ask …